OnePlus CEO: foldable smartphone not in the works, OnePlus TV is the focus

OnePlus CEO: foldable smartphone not in the works, OnePlus TV is the focus
Although OnePlus has introduced a number of accessories since it was founded in December 2013, flagship smartphones have continued to be its primary focus. And now, in an interview with Repubblica Italy, CEO Pete Lau spoke about what can (and can’t) be expected from the brand in the future.

Smartphones & foldable devices

The company’s current strategy consists of one flagship smartphone per year with an updated version around six months later which typically brings improved performance and a few refinements – the OnePlus 5T introduced an 18:9 panel and the OnePlus 6T brought a smaller notch and in-display fingerprint scanner to the table. 

OnePlus is expected to follow a similar strategy this year, although there will be a few changes. In addition to the regular OnePlus 7, the company is apparently preparing a OnePlus 7 Pro. At the moment, it’s unclear what kind of extras this model will bring to the table, but it could potentially be the company’s first 5G smartphone – OnePlus is expected to launch a 5G model alongside the OnePlus 7 next month.

One again, the company’s focus this year will be to offer premium hardware at lower prices. The CEO also expects the brand to continue “challenging” rival manufacturers while continuing to be profitable. But one area it won’t be competing in anytime soon is the foldable segment.

Pete Lau revealed that OnePlus had “been considering a folding phone” for over a year but admitted that it had “not yet found a way to build a device” that is good enough. The CEO stated that the company always pays a lot of attention to the usefulness of products and went on to claim that, in their current state, folding smartphones “do not represent the next generation of smartphones, for now they are nice devices” and this won’t change in the near future due to the fact that they “don’t do anything different.”

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In addition to the lack of new features, Lau pointed towards the “excessive” thickness of current-gen foldables as another reason to avoid the new format right now. Nevertheless, the CEO didn’t roll out a foldable smartphone in the future. In fact, he suggested that once the technology matures OnePlus could enter the market, although this may take a few years. 

The OnePlus TV

As OnePlus announced late last year, it’s currently working on its first smart TV. Details still remain scarce, but it seems as though the product will rely heavily on the buyer’s smartphone.

According to Pete Lau, the process of picking up a remote control to turn on the television is “already a date system.” Lau hopes OnePlus will create a “smart display” – he doesn’t like the word “TV” – that is “always ready and anticipates various needs” with the help of deeply integrated artificial intelligence. Users should also be able to control the device through an app on their OnePlus phone. 

Information such as pricing and a release date weren’t provided, but it was confirmed that the OnePlus TV will follow the company’s usual philosophy of offering premium tech without the premium price tag. The expectation is that it’ll arrive by the end of this year.

OnePlus PC's and household appliances could become a reality

OnePlus has no immediate plans for other hardware products at the moment, but it admitted that the end goal is to create an ecosystem of products that centers around the home, work, and mobility. 

This means that the company could eventually create a range of household appliances, in addition to its own PC – Pete Lau admitted that PC’s will continue to play an important role in offices. It did, however, rule out the possibility of creating its own car. Nevertheless, the possibility of creating its own software for vehicles wasn’t ruled out.

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