Pete Lau, CEO of the Chinese-based smartphone maker, OnePlus, revealed in a forum post last week that the company plans to design a smart TV.
The announcement was a bit of surprise even to OnePlus staff as employees responded to Lau’s initial post with excitement.
The jump clearly represents a step in a different direction, providing insight to the company’s broader goals and long-term bets. “It’s not only to make a TV; we want to explore what OnePlus can do in the smart home industry.” Pete Lau stated in an interview. “The TV doesn’t have to be a TV that plays films or TV shows or series. It can be a home automation hub to control your home’s climate and entertainment system, or the window for you to communicate with the world,” he said.
OnePlus has launched eight phones since 2014 with the most recent OnePlus 6 released in just May of this year; however this was not without hiccups including some security concerns over the facial recognition feature.
The company has successfully produced different devices before, taking on smaller endeavors like wireless headphones and even a backpack and messenger bag series, but nothing as large and technologically complex as a smart-home television.
From a market perspective, OnePlus is in a solid strategic position as one of the only smartphone makers with an active presence in the US, something competitors such as Huawei have not been able to establish. OnePlus managed to do this by selling directly to customers online instead of through US wireless carriers. The company has also made a more physical emergence in India by setting up pop-ups and working with domestic banks to make the phones affordable.
The making of the television will be overseen by a new division within the company, headed by the CEO Pete Lau.
Development of the project is still in the very early stages. In the meantime, OnePlus is actively reaching out to customers for suggestions on features and a name for the TV. Lau published a recent Twitter post asking for customer input:
More details and specifications are expected to be available early next year.
Featured Image Courtesy of OnePlus