[UPDATE] OnePlus 8 Launch Event Could Be Online-Only Due to Coronavirus Fears
UPDATE 13:47 EST: OnePlus has spoken to 9to5google and claimed that the physical launch event is not canceled and will go on as scheduled.
The ongoing Coronavirus epidemic has impacted the tech industry a lot. Global smartphone shipments are expected to drop due to reduced output in manufacturing units. Even MWC 2020 was canceled due to a dozen or players dropping out due to concerns around the pathogen. A lot of OEMs were counting on MWC to announce their 2020 releases, and now, they have to figure out alternative methods to release their devices. Now, it appears that the highly-anticipated OnePlus 8 launch will be online too.
OnePlus 8 will be the first device after the OnePlus 5 to be released online
Sources familiar with the matter told 9to5Google that OnePlus is considering an online-only launch event for the OnePlus 8. The reason, as mentioned earlier, is pressing concerns around the Coronavirus epidemic. Given the airborne nature of the virus, any large gathering of people that is populated by people from around the world dramatically increases the risk of getting infected.
Should there be a physical launch event for the OnePlus 8 launch, it will likely be attended by people from all over the world, including China. Even if the event were to implement the strictest hygiene standards possible, there is always a chance of one infected individual slipping through the cracks. It is, however, still too early to speculate anything. The event won't happen for at least another month. OnePlus could even push it back a little if necessary.
Until the Coronavirus epidemic is contained, or a vaccine is developed, this will be a regular occurrence. An increasing number of companies will ditch physical launch events for online-only endeavors. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the latter, physical events allow people to some much-needed hands-on time with a product. One can also try out some of the device's new features out for themselves and report on it in realtime.