OnePlus is one brand that has made it so big in the premium smartphone space in a short period of time that big brands like Apple are starting to feel the heat. OnePlus 6 and then 6T followed by its multitude variants heightened the brand's recognition globally and to top it off, the company's CEO Pete Lau confirmed that it will be launching a 5G smartphone as early as next year.

That said, a freshly leaked photo courtesy of tipster Ishan Agarwal shows Lau holding an unseen OnePlus device. To many, it seems like the OnePlus 7 smartphone but there's also a solid possibility that the leaked handset with a completely revamped design could be OnePlus' upcoming 5G smartphone. The company has already confirmed that its 5G phone and OnePlus 6T successor won't be the same.

Looking at the image, the anonymous OnePlus handset boasts a unique design, which we haven't seen in any OnePlus phone yet. There's a large circular ring around the rear camera, but it's hard to guess the number of sensors inside it.

Unlike most leaks, where only the device is pictured, this particular one shows the company's CEO holding the phone and assessing it. While Lau is seen holding a light silver variant of the unknown OnePlus phone, there's a red colour device shown in the presentation slide. The photo seems to be taken during an internal company meeting.

Potential OnePlus 7 or OnePlus 5G pictured in this leak
Potential OnePlus 7 or OnePlus 5G pictured in this leak along with Pete Lau in itTwitter/Ishan Agarwal

But the tipster also notes in his tweet that the photo shows the device in "prototype/designing stage," which means the final design could include some changes but largely end up looking like the leaked one. The OnePlus logo is also seen on the device's rear panel and OnePlus' motto "Never Settle" wallpaper is seen on the display. The lower bezel appears slimmer than the one we've seen on OnePlus 6T, but it is not clear if there is going to be a notch or not.

The rear surface appears glossy, which means OnePlus is going with glass sandwich design and could finally offer wireless charging. But that's just a fair guess at this point and the company has made a clear stand on wireless charging that it won't offer technology that is still nascent.

While there's a lot that is yet to be known about the two upcoming OnePlus phones – OnePlus 7 and whatever OnePlus chooses to call its 5G phone – the company has revealed that its 5G smartphone will be $200 to $300 costlier than the OnePlus 6T. The 5G phone, which will be launched in the UK in partnership with EE, is expected to break covers end of May next year.

OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition unboxing
OnePlus 6T McLaren EditionIBTimes India/Sami Khan

If the news of a 5G phone excites you much, there's some sad news. The oneplus 5G phone won't be coming to India and it would be limited to the European market only. One of the reasons could be lack of widespread 5G bands across the country.

On the bright side, OnePlus will launch three flagships next year instead of just two like in previous years. Following the launch of OnePlus 7, fans can look forward to OnePlus 5G phone's launch and then OnePlus 7T towards the end of the year. Keeping up with the current tradition, we could see some special variants in the process.