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Long before smart TVs and streaming sticks had their own dedicated smartphone apps for controlling them, many phones had IR blasters that could emulate a TV's remote. While the vast majority of smartphones did away with that feature many years ago, we just might be seeing it again soon, with the upcoming OnePlus Nord 3 rumored to feature IR support.

Models like last year's OnePlus Nord N20 rank among our favorite budget phones, and we're always curious to see what's coming up next from the manufacturer. Now leaker Max Jambor sounds the heads-up that the Nord 3 will likely add some new hardware to the equation with the presence of an IR blaster — and that's on top of a newer processor, larger screen, and improved cameras.

Basically the smartphone version of a universal remote, an IR blaster allows users to turn their phones into fully customizable remote controls for any number of different televisions, set-top boxes, stereo systems, and more. Anyone with a plethora of different devices could simply download a general IR blaster app and control all of them through it.

Many phone manufacturers already did away with the IR blaster years ago — LG drifted away following the failure of the G5, while Samsung started losing interest after the Galaxy S6 series. When you would find it, it tended to be on lower-end devices.

Even though many phones available in North America lost out on IR blasters, they're still popular in Chinese to this day — the Vivo X80 Pro, Huawei P50 Pro, and Xiaomi 12 Pro all came out within the last three years and include one.

While it remains to be seen when OnePlus will officially announce the OnePlus Nord 3, the company is supposedly preparing to announce its first foldable phone this summer. If you're more interested in seeing what a larger OnePlus device can do, check out the solid-yet-flawed OnePlus Pad.