The wearable tech industry continues to get more popular each year. Analysts from Gartner estimate that spending on wearable devices will double by 2021. That means more companies are entering the space with their first smartwatches, virtual reality headsets, and other high-tech accessories.
OnePlus is one of them. It has been rumored for a while that the company was working on a smartwatch. Now, those plans are confirmed thanks to CEO Pete Lau. On Tuesday, he tweeted, “Many of you said you wanted a watch, and as you might have heard over the weekend—we’re making one, to be released early next year.”
Many of you said you wanted a watch, and as you might have heard over the weekend—we're making one, to be released early next year. Wishes do come true.🎁 https://t.co/H1Fqv9srXj
— Pete Lau (@PeteLau) December 22, 2020
Although OnePlus’ debut wearable doesn’t have a price or an official release date, there is already plenty of excitement for the smartwatch.
OnePlus Enters the Wearables Space
The announcement of a OnePlus smartwatch shouldn’t be surprising. It has found plenty of success in the smartphone world recently. Like Apple and Samsung, the next logical option is to make a device that fits with the rest of its hardware ecosystem. Although OnePlus smartphone owners can use any Android-compatible watch with their phone, one with the same branding is sure to offer more features.
That being said, OnePlus has kept quiet about what its first smartwatch will bring to the table.
The company previously started working on a watch that’s compatible with Wear OS back in 2016. Ultimately, it scrapped those plans. At the time, Lau told The Wall Street Journal, “We had completed the design but we still decided to scrap it. We have to be focused.”
Obviously, the wearables market has changed dramatically since 2016. Today’s smartwatches have features that would embarrass one that came out four years ago. With that in mind, OnePlus’ debut smartwatch will likely be a lot different than the one it previously designed.
It may not even run Wear OS. With four years having gone by, it’s a real possibility that OnePlus could have created an in-house operating system. The more likely scenario, however, is that it still runs on Wear OS, much like Samsung’s lineup of Galaxy watches.
OnePlus has recently made a big push to extend itself out from the smartphone world. Aside from its high-end smartphones, it also released its Nord handset over the summer. The budget device helps OnePlus compete with other manufacturers in the smartphone space who offer both premium and mid-range devices.
Meanwhile, it also has several pairs of headphones on the market, including the very capable OnePlus Buds. The true wireless earbuds deliver a high-quality, AirPods-like experience at a fraction of the cost.
OnePlus even has a smart TV that’s available in select markets.
The Verge’s Chaim Gartenberg notes that the company’s first smartwatch comes shortly after Oppo released its debut wearable. Both firms are owned by the same parent company, BBK Electronics, so the two watches could have some similarities. That wouldn’t be surprising considering the synergy between devices the two have released in the past.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see what OnePlus has in store for its debut smartwatch. If it follows the trend of the company’s other devices, it could be one of the most affordable high-end smartwatches on the market. Keep an eye out for it in the early months of 2021.