You’ll likely know OnePlus as the fast-growing smartphone brand from China, which found a huge following for making high-spec handsets that still manage to sharply undercut the increasingly astronomical price of the competition (we’re looking at you, iPhone XS Max).
OnePlus is now looking to repeat the trick with a new smart TV, out sometime in 2020. There’s talk of a Bluetooth remote that could spell some interesting connectivity options for the set – but what exactly is the OnePlus TV, and what will it do differently from the competition?
UPDATE: While we’ve been told to expect the OnePlus TV in 2020, there’s currently no launch scheduled for Western markets. It will likely come to China and India first, with performance in those territories determining whether the set will be rolled out further abroad. Read on below for why that might be, as well as what we’re hoping to see in OnePlus’ first television.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The first smart TV from smartphone-maker OnePlus
- When is it out? Sometime in 2020
- Where will it release? China and India confirmed though Western markets are a big maybe
- What will it cost? Knowing OnePlus, it’ll be mid-range pricing, but won’t undersell itself either
OnePlus TV release date
When will the OnePlus TV release? We first thought it might happen as soon as 2019, though 2020 is now looking more likely.
In an interview with India’s daily newspaper Economic Times, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau stated that there was currently no official deadline for launch, though 2020 was the rough plan.
Lau added: “India will be one of the first markets to get the OnePlus TV. It will be available through Amazon. We haven’t set a deadline as yet, as we want it to be the best there is.”
There’s no confirmation on Western markets, then, though a wider global release beyond Asia will probably depend on how much buzz the product gets on release.
OnePlus TV price
There are no prices yet for the OnePlus TV – or whatever they’ll call it – but OnePlus’ strategy in the smartphone market has been to offer upper-mid-range products that undercut the competition by about 20-30%.
The end price could be in the range of $600 / £500 to $1,000 / £800, depending on who OnePlus decide to lock horns with, but we’d be surprised for it to fall out of those margins. It’s probably a safe bet to say it won’t be cheaper than the OnePlus 6 handset ($529 / £469), but it’s difficult to predict with so little information to go on.
In the Economic Times interview, CEO Pete Lau did say to expect “a flagship killer, as we do with smartphones, at very competitive pricing [sic]”.
OnePlus TV: what’s in a name?
OnePlus CEO Pete Lau first announced the set in a blog post on the official OnePlus forum – rather than a flashy launch event – in keeping with the brand’s customer-focused outlook.
A follow-up post a few days later invited forum members to suggest names for the new television – with 10 finalists getting a free pair of OnePlus Bullets Wireless for their suggestions (listed below).
OnePlus was careful to note that “the OnePlus team is not obligated to use any suggestions submitted to this contest”, though one winner (listed below) will be rewarded with a OnePlus TV and fancy hotel stay for the set’s first launch event.
- Apex (@shadowkgt3732)
- Arena (@hans.bdv)
- Aspire (@akky15)
- Canvas (@sanghanijd)
- Epic One (Dipu Moni Bora)
- Epic TV (Densky)
- Innova (@BornaCvizanic)
- Intelly+ (@anilanand)
- Nese (@JohnC.)
- NS1 (Sriram Reddy)
OnePlus TV: what we want to see
A mid-sized television set
Remember when 40″ screens seemed excessive? Today’s televisions market is moving towards ever-larger 55″ and 65″ displays, even as the average home gets smaller.
If OnePlus could offer a well-made 40″ television that didn’t skimp on resolution or smart features – so a modern set that consumers could actually fit in their living rooms – we could see it making a big splash.
4K is the buzzword of the moment, and failing to match that resolution would make the OnePlus TV a hard sell. Our guess is OnePlus is angling for a mid-quality 4K television – one that doesn’t try to compete with the big-screen OLED forerunners but doesn’t settle for a low resolution either.
That sleek OnePlus design – at a decent price
The success of the OnePlus range of smartphones has been in its ability to stay affordable compared to the competition – even if the company has moved more towards high-end devices in recent years.
And just as importantly, OnePlus phones look good. The smart TV needs to offer a sleek design to stand out and sell itself as a lifestyle item as much as it does as a television. Maybe take a leaf from the smartphone arena with some more imaginative color options (like a limited edition red television)?
A smart TV platform that just works
Given that the OnePlus smartphone range runs on Android OS, we’d imagine a smart OnePlus TV would use the Android TV platform rather than create its own interface from scratch.
There are a lot of perks for Android TV, being a widely-used platform and one that comes with Chromecast and therefore a large number of streaming services built-in.
But it’s also prone to software bugs, and what we really want to see in a OnePlus TV is a smooth user experience, which is worth more than all the quantum dots in the world.
A connected service
We’d hope the OnePlus TV would find smart ways of connecting to handsets: using your phone as a stand-in remote, having a smartphone app to browse the TV guide or flick through the Netflix catalogue, and easy casting of video and images to the set.
With the smart home sector larger than ever, it would be really surprising not to see the likes of Alexa and Google Assistant built-in from the get-go, allowing you to connect to other devices around the home with ease.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on OnePlus TV announcement in the coming months, so stay tuned – if we’re sure of anything it’s that this will be one to watch.