The old rivalry between OnePlus and Samsung might soon be rekindled in the foldable phone arena. OnePlus has just announced its first foldable device, the Open, and OnePlus is aiming it straight at the Galaxy Z Fold 5.
There's no doubt that OnePlus sees Samsung as the rival to beat. It even mentioned the Galaxy S23 Ultra's camera prowess in its own presentation about the Open's camera system. In the eyes of OnePlus, Samsung is the big obstacle to overcome, even if it means emulating some of its ideas from time to time.
Truth be told, the OnePlus Open sounds good. Not “flagship killer good” due to its similar price to the Galaxy Z Fold 5, but it sounds like a decent phone. Nevertheless, one reason why this is true is that the OnePlus One borrows some inspiration from the Galaxy Z Fold, or rather, the One UI experience.
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Samsung has paved the way for multi-window multitasking
The OnePlus Open ships with Android 13 and OxygenOS 13.2. More importantly, it adopts a wide variety of software tricks that were clearly inspired by Samsung's One UI push toward productivity.
The list of One UI-like productivity tweaks and features the OnePlus Open has is quite rich, relatively speaking. It includes:
- A split-screen mode that can be enabled through a two-finger swipe gesture.
- An option to expand a split-screen app with quick taps and swipes.
- A desktop-like taskbar that offers easy access to recent apps.
- Drag and drop sharing enabled by the recent apps taskbar section.
- Triple multi-window mode.
- Smart orientation for apps running in multi-window.
Come to think of it, the few productivity features the OnePlus Open hasn't lifted from the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and One UI are Pop-up View and two-hand drag-and-drop, the latter of which was introduced with the One UI 5.1.1 update.
Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Who's to say?! But it's no secret that smartphone makers, including Samsung, often flatter one another. Is it wrong that OnePlus let itself be inspired by Samsung's One UI? Maybe not. It's hard to blame the company for trying to adhere to what has become a new standard set in place by Samsung's ingenuity and tenacity.
The OnePlus Open may be on the right path, but Samsung carved that path, to begin with. And credit where credit is due: all of these features originated within Samsung's One UI in one form or another. When it comes to multi-window productivity, even Google — the maker of Android OS — is a follower rather than a leader.