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The Morning After: OnePlus is getting even closer with Oppo

And the tiny EV that 14-year-olds in France can drive.
OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro smartphones held in hands under a blue sky.
Mat Smith
Mat Smith|@thatmatsmith|June 17, 2021 7:15 AM

OnePlus just launched a cheaper 5G phone, then slid in some major business news alongside it. After some time working with Oppo (which is owned by the same company — BBK), OnePlus CEO Peter Lau announced that after the “positive impact” of working together, the team is cozying up even closer.

Although OnePlus will live under Oppo's umbrella, Lau said it will remain independently operated. But if you’ve been scrutinizing the world of smartphones — especially those from BBK players like Oppo, Vivo, Realme, OnePlus — there’s been a lot of feature and spec overlap. For example, the OnePlus 8 Pro was an awful lot like the Oppo Find X2 Pro.

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Some of these phone brands focus on China and India, while OnePlus pushes (and often thrives) into Western countries and gets its phones into European and American hands. More recently, Oppo and Vivo have made moves into some countries in Europe, but neither has the brand power of OnePlus. Will this closer partnership result in even more similar phones with different badges? Or another major mobile power able to go up against Samsung and Apple?

— Mat Smith

Leica introduces its very first smartphone

With a 1-inch camera sensor and '240Hz' display.

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Talking of same phones, different badges, Leica’s first smartphone is a device that’s pretty much already launched. Following collaborations with Huawei and the more recent Sharp Aquos R6, Leica is finally launching its own smartphone. The Leitz Phone 1 is Leica's first self-branded mobile phone (and, yep, it’s an Aquos R6 underneath that red Leica logo), and it'll launch in Japan next month. Though there are aesthetic tweaks to the camera UI, the phone also comes with a “largely monochrome” take on Android 11, which sounds pretty cool. Just like the Aquos R6, the Leitz Phone 1 packs a 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor for its f/1.9 main camera, along with a 12.6-megapixel selfie camera on the other side. Continue reading.

Google's first retail store will sell, fix and show off its products

It opens in New York City today.

Google and Paul Warchol

This isn't Google's first physical retail space, of course — the company's held several pop-ups featuring its hardware products in the past. But a new store on 76 Ninth Avenue, which will open today at 10 am ET, occupies the bottom of Google's building in Chelsea. Not only will it sell Google hardware (across the Pixel, Nest and Fitbit portfolios) but it’ll also give you tech support on a broad ecosystem of products, a la Apple’s Genius Bar. Continue reading.

In-app ads are coming to Oculus Quest

The first ones will appear inside "Blaston."

In the coming weeks, Facebook plans to start testing ads Oculus Quest owners see while playing games and using apps with their headsets. The first of these will appear in Blaston, a first-person bullet-hell title from Resolution Games, followed by software from two other unnamed developers sometime in the next few weeks. "For now, this is a test with a few apps," the company said in a blog post. Continue reading.

Driving Citroën's pint-sized Ami EV

Available to drivers as young as 14 years old.

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Carmakers have gone on and on for years about urban mobility solutions, but have you ever seen one on the streets? French automaker Citroën finally did something about that by transforming its adorable Ami concept into an actual adorable car with two seats and a top speed of 28 MPH.

By a quirk of French law, the Ami is not technically a car but a “quadricycle,” so users in the nation as young as 14 can drive it. But unlike Renault’s Twizy quadricycle, it’s a fully enclosed vehicle. Paris-based Associate Editor Steve Dent had to try it out. Continue reading.

Team Ninja's dark, wild spin on Final Fantasy needs some taming

We played ‘Stranger in Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin.’

Square Enix’s new approach to the first-ever Final Fantasy didn’t get off to a good start. The trailer was rough and possibly the most meme-able video at this year’s E3. Sometimes that’s good. Usually, it’s bad. This was the latter, with nonsensical dialogue and a game that looked rather dated given it’s coming to the PS5. I played through the demo (which also had its own problems), and while there’s room for improvement — the developers are chasing feedback from players — there could be a very enjoyable, if tough, game that offers a different perspective on the Final Fantasy universe. Continue reading.

But wait, there’s more...

Amazon will reduce Appstore fees for smaller developers later this year

Apple has reportedly considered launching its own primary healthcare service

‘Luca’ lets Pixar’s house style finally shine

‘Star Trek: Picard’ season two trailer marks the return of Q

How the rising popularity of EVs could lead to a resurgence of drum brakes

Time travel in the MCU is a mess, and that's okay

The Morning After: OnePlus is getting even closer with Oppo