OnePlus has confirmed that the much-awaited OnePlus Nord smartphone will run the Google Messages and Google Phone app. This is a big change compared with the OnePlus phones so far, including the OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 8 Pro, which bundled OnePlus’ own Messaging and Phone apps. Those apps are quite neat, mind you, particularly the messaging app that also built-in some serious spam filtration and message bundling capabilities. It isn’t exactly clear why OnePlus is moving away from its own apps to the Google Messages and Google Phone apps. Oh, and yes, Google Duo will also be preloaded on the phone, as part of the Google apps bundle.
OnePlus made this confirmation in an Instagram post, but didn’t exactly reveal why the change is happening. “You know the apps: Duo, Phone, and Messages. Now know the phone that’s got them,” says the OnePlus.Nord Instagram account. The accompanying video does suggest that Google’s messaging and phone apps are “smoother”. The switch to Google Messages will also enable OnePlus Nord to be RCS compatible, a messaging functionality that is rolling out with certain operators around the world.
While Google has had the Messages and Phone app in its arsenal for a very long time, phone makers have often used their own apps for these functions, and often included more features along the way. OnePlus also has its own Messages and Phone app in other phones, which makes this switch to Google’s apps a bit perplexing. It is not clear if this is a push from Google’s end on certain phones. It is also not known if the OnePlus Messages and OnePlus Phone app, already available on other OnePlus phones, will be available as optional downloads on the OnePlus Nord, from the Google Play Store.
The OnePlus Nord is expected to be the affordable Android smartphone that many have been waiting for. It also could mark a return for OnePlus to the affordable Android smartphone space, where it started out a few years ago, rather successfully. It is expected to be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G mobile platform, offer a 6.44-inch display with 90Hz refresh rate and a 48-megapixel camera. OnePlus had earlier said that the phone will cost less than $500 in most markets.