[Update: 4K & More] OnePlus wants to release its own TV in 2019
OnePlus is not the sort of company to be afraid of revealing surprises. Only days after revealing that the company’s upcoming flagship, the OnePlus 6T, will not have a 3.5mm headphone jack, the company is back with another big announcement. OnePlus is developing a flagship, premium TV that may be launched in 2019.
OnePlus founder Pete Lau posted on the OnePlus forums that the company wanted to bring the “next level of intelligent connectivity to the home environment. For this, the company is building a new product with OnePlus’ “premium flagship design, image quality and audio experience to more seamlessly connect the home”: the OnePlus TV.
Mr. Lau states that OnePlus’ experience in building eight flagship smartphones and OxygenOS has paved a foundation on which to build the OnePlus TV experience. According to him, developing a TV is “a huge step” in the OnePlus journey, but one that has been taken with “intense consideration and deliberation.” The forum post did not reveal more details about the OnePlus TV.
However, Mr. Lau revealed details about his vision for the OnePlus TV to Business Insider. The publication quoted him as saying that his vision is to make a TV with seamless connectivity to a user’s smartphone. He also wants to add the functionality of a smart AI assistant—like Alexa or the Google Assistant—but with “more of a visual element.”
The OnePlus TV is in the early stages of development. It may be launched next year. However, post-release software updates will help the company to “fully realize its vision.” It’s the first time OnePlus is expanding its product lineup beyond the fields of smartphones and smartphone accessories.
Mr. Lau told Business Insider that many OnePlus smartphone users have already asked the company why it doesn’t make a TV. Many details about the product are unclear, but Mr. Lau said that OnePlus is “thinking big” with it.
The OnePlus founder also feels that the current market of TVs haven’t integrated the Internet into the experience well, and the market is “still feeling quite traditional in their functionality and experience.” He is hopeful that the OnePlus TV will be released in 2019, and software updates will gradually make it smarter and more connected over the five years following the launch. Mr. Lau, therefore, expects that it will take some time for the product to live up to its full promise, as it won’t be “complete and revolutionary” from the start.
Mr. Lau also told the publication that the company is building a premium, flagship TV, and promised that it will have specifications to match. No precise details were provided. Instead, he described the vision for the product. The OnePlus TV is going to be smart, but his vision is to evolve the typical smart TVs and make them better connected to smartphones.
The OnePlus TV is envisioned by Mr. Lau as having seamless connectivity between a user’s smartphone and TV. It will also have AI features and assistive functionality that is currently offered by the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. This means being able to beam photos and home videos to the TV without needing an app or third-party service. It also means showing the user useful information such as upcoming calendar events, suggestions for departure times for the user’s daily commute, and the ability to arrange transportation to and form a destination. These ideas are a “small example” of what OnePlus could do with TVs, according to Mr. Lau.
Mr. Lau told Business Insider that OnePlus is in talks with major industry players to support current connected-home systems, but did not say which company’s AI will be used to power the OnePlus TV. The OnePlus TV will also have a built-in camera that is supposed to be essential to its experience, and Mr. Lau said that the company has privacy concerns in mind, and it will have a solution for the concerns.
Mr. Lau stated that OnePlus will solicit ideas from the community on what features and functionality it wants from a TV. Although some examples of AI/TV integration already exist (such as the Amazon Echo Show, Fire Edition TVs, and Google Chromecast), Mr. Lau wants to bring AI to the TV instead of making a separate device.
Finally, Mr. Lau told the publication that OnePlus has just began the long press of making and selling a OnePlus TV, as it’s currently in the “very early stages” of development, which explains the lack of product details and a launch date. However, he reiterated that the company is taking this project seriously, as the OnePlus TV will be the “next big thing” for OnePlus.
OnePlus will likely differentiate the OnePlus TV on the basis of cost. If the company follows such a strategy, it won’t be alone in doing so. Xiaomi is another company that has released relatively affordable 4K HDR smart TVs (branded as Mi TVs) in markets such as China and India.
Update: 4K and More Details
In an interview with PC Mag, Pete Lau shared more details about their TV plans. OnePlus will outsource the display panels, but they will make the “image processing chipsets and algorithms” in-house. The display will be 4K LED. Lau also said the TV will act as a smart home hub that can hear and respond to voice commands. As the original story indicated, Lau said the device will not be a set-top box because “people don’t want two things.”
What are your thoughts about OnePlus’ decision to develop its own TV? Let us know in the comments below.