OnePlus announces Hasselblad partnership: OnePlus 9 arriving on March 23

We all know that the OnePlus 9 is about to be unveiled soon, and now there is a definite release date: March 23, 2021. Apart from that, another piece of news that will certainly get you all excited would be OnePlus’ three-year partnership. We suppose any extension, should it happen, will greatly depend on the reception that future Hasselblad-enabled OnePlus smartphones receive. The latter partnership announcement further cements earlier rumors of the flagship OnePlus 9 range featuring the Hasselblad camera.

OnePlus 9 will be unveiled on March 23
OnePlus and Hasselblad announce a three-year partnership
OnePlus to invest $150 million in camera development over the next three years

A few days ago, OnePlus released a brief teaser that showed a partial shot from the moon, and OnePlus CEO Pete Lau did ask the world to keep an eye out for the March 8 date.

Stay tuned for March 8!

— Pete Lau (@PeteLau)
March 4, 2021

When it concerns the moon and the stars, chances are they are all about the cameras. We’re glad to know that our instincts have not betrayed us with OnePlus offering some exciting new developments that places focus on cameras. 

Three-year partnership with Hasselblad announced

What was once a rumor is now proven to be reality: OnePlus will be working alongside legendary camera manufacturer Hasselblad to imbue their smartphones with Hasselblad optics as part of a three-year partnership! The Chinese company announced that they want to work with Hasselblad in the research and development of upcoming OnePlus smartphones, and this will also include the upcoming OnePlus 9 series with “significantly improved camera systems.

Hasselblad is a relatively unknown quantity in the smartphone arena, but for most photographers, this name carries a whole lot of weight. Many famous photographers have snapped some of the most spectacular shots using Hasselblad cameras. For instance, the legendary “Abbey Road” record cover by the Beatles and the photos of US astronauts on the moon were immortalized with Hasselblad cameras back then. 

So OnePlus is not only getting a legendary company to work with, but more importantly, one that has a lot of expertise and experience. Would it be too optimistic to see this partnership bloom and benefit everyone, where there will be improvements made to its software and hardware? Will camera technology in smartphones experience a revolution? Chances are at the beginning, both parties will focus on software-side improvements such as color matching and sensor calibration, before turning their attention to improving the hardware by upgrading the optical systems and lens capabilities.

OnePlus will invest US$150 million in camera development over the next three years / © OnePlus
US$150 million investment in camera technologies

However, smartphone users should be able to reap the rewards of this collaboration with the upcoming OnePlus 9 series smartphones, which will most probably include a new color solution – Natural Color Calibration with Hasselblad. It is hoped that photos captured with OnePlus flagship cameras are more color accurate and hence, look more natural to the naked eye. Owners of the new OnePlus smartphones will also most probably be able to take advantage of the 12-bit RAW format.

To ensure that this partnership between OnePlus and Hasselblad will bear fruit in the long term, especially with the former’s upcoming smartphones, OnePlus plans to invest up to 4150 million in new camera technologies over the course of the next three years. In its press release, OnePlus mentioned a “panoramic camera with a 140-degree field of view, T-Lens technology for lightning-fast focus in the front camera, and a free-form lens that will debut in the OnePlus 9 series that virtually eliminates edge distortion in ultra-wide photos.”

Introducing the OnePlus 9 series

So when OnePlus talks about the “most remarkable day ever for OnePlus cameras – and most importantly, for OnePlus users around the world,” it sounds a bit pompous and over-the-top. Nonetheless, they’ve managed to catch a big one in the form of Hasselblad, and we might get to see how that partnership has actually benefitted the company as early as March 23, when OnePlus namely unveils its brand new OnePlus 9 series smartphones at 3pm local Berlin time.

On March 23, the OnePlus 9 will be unveiled / © OnePlus

With these two announcements, OnePlus has let two proverbial cats out of the bag simultaneously – the Hasselblad partnership and a OnePlus 9 unveiling. We will undoubtedly bring the news as it breaks, and I forsee that some of our editors are simply chomping at the bit to review the new Hasselblad-equipped OnePlus 9.