If you were hoping that the OnePlus 9 series announcement was going to be today, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that the series isn't getting announced today, but OnePlus did confirm that March 23 is going to be the launch date, and it even teased some new features.
Most significantly, OnePlus is announcing the long-rumored partnership with Hasselblad, a camera company that's famous for producing the camera used by Apollo astronauts on the moon. The partnership is set to last over the next three years, and the Shenzhen firm is committed to investing $150 million in that time to its photography capabilities.
“OnePlus has always prioritized a premium user experience over everything else. Beginning in 2021, we are making a concerted effort to significantly improve the smartphone camera experience for our users, with the expertise of a truly legendary partner in Hasselblad,” said Pete Lau, Founder and CEO of OnePlus. “With OnePlus’ top-of-the-line hardware and computational photography and Hasselblad’s rich aesthetic knowledge in traditionalphotography, I am confident that the OnePlus 9 Series will be a major leap forward in our ability to deliver a premium, flagship camera.”
Obviously, the entire goal here is to build better smartphone cameras. According to the announcement, the first thing that you'll see are software improvements for color tuning and sensor calibration. OnePlus also said that both companies are "committed to delivering immediate benefit for OnePlus users", further hinting that there could be some improvements in the future for existing OnePlus smartphone cameras.
One new solution is going to be called Natural Color Calibration with Hasselblad, and that's going to be specific to future OnePlus devices, likely starting with the OnePlus 9 series. There's also a new Hasselblad Pro Mode, which lets users adjust ISO, focus, exposure times, and more in a new UI, and you can use a 12-bit RAW format.
“Hasselblad believes in the power of images and our mission is to continue pushing the boundaries on imaging technology. With this in mind, Hasselblad is determined to work together with OnePlus, an innovative company that shares the same vision and passion for technology. By partnering with OnePlus, we hope to put Hasselblad’s iconic design and outstanding image quality in the hands of more people and share our passion for incredible photography,” said Jon Diele, Vice President, Hasselblad.
The announcement also provided some details on the actual product. The OnePlus 9 series is getting a custom Sony IMX789 sensor, and the company says that 12-bit RAW will offer 64 times as much color as before. What's called the Hasselblad Camera for Mobile is going to support HDR video recording, 4K 120fps, and 8K 30fps.
The OnePlus 9 series launch event is set to kick off at 10am Eastern Time on March 23.