The OnePlus 8T just made its debut, with the phone featuring a 120Hz AMOLED panel, 65W fast charging, and a new design. OnePlus is now switching gears to focus on its 2021 flagship portfolio.
OnePlus usually launches its numbered flagships in May, but this year it unveiled the OnePlus 8 series on April 14, with the phones going on sale from April 29. For 2021, the company is planning to launch the OnePlus 9 series in March.
OnePlus 9 release date
OnePlus hasn’t settled on a release date yet for the OnePlus 9, but the information we’ve received from our insider source suggests the launch event will be scheduled for sometime around mid-March. OnePlus isn’t the only company considering an early launch for its 2021 flagship. Samsung is also going to launch the Galaxy S21 series in January, a full six weeks earlier than the usual February release window.
It makes sense that OnePlus would want to release the OnePlus 9 in March; doing so would give the numbered flagship series more time on store shelves before the T mid-cycle refresh shows up sometime in the fall. Releasing the OnePlus 9 in March also allows OnePlus to position its 2021 flagship against the likes of Samsung, Xiaomi, and others more effectively.
An early launch lets OnePlus position the OnePlus 9 better against the Galaxy S21.
It’s too early to speculate about the internal hardware of the OnePlus 9, but OnePlus is likely to leverage Qualcomm’s upcoming 5nm chipset, the Snapdragon 875. With the OnePlus 8T ushering 65W fast charging via Warp Charge 65, it’s also a given that the OnePlus 9 series will also offer the same charging standard. We should also see IP68 water resistance, wireless charging, and upgrades to the cameras.
As for how the accelerated launch affects the mid-cycle refresh, it will be interesting to see if OnePlus retains its dual flagship release cycle going forward. OnePlus eschewed the 8T Pro and released just the regular OnePlus 8T this generation, and with the company increasingly focusing on carrier partnerships in the U.S., it is possible we may just get one flagship series a year.
OnePlus’ business model of selling a phone for just six months before launching a new version doesn’t cut it anymore. Carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile want to sell a phone for at least a year or more, and the T-Mobile variant of the OnePlus 7T is still up for sale nearly a year after its launch — while the unlocked version sold out several months ago.
What’s next for OnePlus Nord?
It is possible OnePlus will increase its focus on the Nord series to boost sales going forward. The OnePlus 8 series hasn’t sold in any meaningful numbers for the company, but the OnePlus Nord continues to do really well in key markets like India.
OnePlus is introducing two models in the Nord series later in the year: the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, which is powered by the 5G-enabled Snapdragon 690 chipset and is bound for the U.S., and an entry-level Nord N100.
In 2021, we could see OnePlus offering the OnePlus 9 series as the default flagship option for the year, and then turning its efforts to the mid-range and budget segments with several Nord devices over the course of the year. We’ll have to wait and see how that pans out, but we should know more about the OnePlus 9 in the coming weeks.