Although we’re still over a week away from the official keynote presentation, OnePlus has revealed its upcoming 10T will not sport the company’s notable “alert slider,” or mute switch. In an interview with The Verge, OnePlus chief designer Hope Liu claimed the switch had to go in order to make room inside the phone for “high wattage charging, a large battery capacity, and better antenna signal.”
Although there are many excellent smartphones available, just one has this capability. The “iPhone vs. Android” controversy might never end, with neither side claiming complete dominance. Both platforms have advantages and disadvantages, as do the businesses that produce the hardware and software. However, since its sole rival has left the game, Apple can now claim exclusivity over one feature.
While Liu’s design explanation may be true, this omission is disappointing: OnePlus was the only Android OEM to include a hardware switch designed to turn sound alerts on or off, and was well known for it. OnePlus’ version lets you move the slider into three different positions: One keeps alerts enabled, another turns on silent mode, while the third switches to vibrate. Now, OnePlus 10T users will need to rely on software controls to set the phone to mute or vibrate, like most Android devices on the market.
The iPhone is the only new smartphone left with a mute switch. It places Apple as the only smartphone manufacturer to include such a hardware switch on their devices, which, obviously, means it no longer appears on any new Android phones. If you want to have the versatility to mute your phone without looking at it or taking it out of your pocket, your only option is to pick up an iPhone, or to buy an older OnePlus device. That won’t be too hard, since OnePlus released 10 Pro in March of this year. However, unless OnePlus reverses course, that phone will be the last Android with a mute switch.
This isn’t the first time OnePlus has left the alert slider off one of their smartphones: Many of the company’s OnePlus Nord series is missing the switch, so customers with one of those devices will no doubt find the drama around this “news” confusing. However, Nord is OnePlus’ “budget” line; the 10T marks the first flagship, full-featured smartphone from OnePlus to drop the alert slider, and that feels like a big deal.
Let’s be real, though: No one is buying a phone for the mute switch alone. Apple likely isn’t going to run ads showing a customer subtly muting their iPhone before a big meeting (even if it’s a good selling point). It’s worth highlighting, though, since it’s a milestone in Android smartphones and OnePlus as a company. We’ll miss the alert slider, and we hope it makes a comeback. Until then, we’ll be muting our smartphones with software.
Fun fact: While Apple has never shipped an iPhone without a mute switch, it did drop the feature from another product line. Apple used to include the switch on the iPad, up until the iPad Air 2. You could use it either as a mute switch, or to turn rotation lock on or off. Now, both options are relegated to the Control Center.