What you need to know
- OnePlus CEO confirmed that a watch will arrive in early 2021.
- Almost no details about said watch have been leaked, so it's anyone's guess how the watch will function.
- Pete Lau previously stated that the company wanted to work with Google on Wear OS.
After years of rumors, hints, and broken hopes and dreams, OnePlus CEO, Pete Lau, has just confirmed that the company is working on a OnePlus watch that will arrive early next year. Lau made the announcement in a tweet that was in response to a question he posed to followers in early December asking what they wanted to see that the company hasn't done yet. Among the answers were a stylus pen, tablet, and even a laptop, but there were plenty of responses that called for a smartwatch.
OnePlus has long been rumored to be working on a smartwatch. Former co-founder Carl Pei confirmed that at one point in 2015 the company did start developing a OnePlus watch, but the plans were scrapped because, with so many product launches at the time, they felt as though the company was starting to lose focus. Later, sketches that apparently showed the design of the watch were leaked, giving us a view of something quite modular, which the company recently included in a teaser for the potential watch.
Since work on a watch resumed, the company has been fairly mum on its plans, although some tidbits of information were gathered regarding what a OnePlus watch might actually be. Back in August, a device dubbed "OnePlus Watch" was certified in Indonesia, which indicated that we could see a launch relatively soon. OnePlus has been known to focus efforts on products such as TVs and even the initial Nord launch, away from the US and in other markets like Asia and Europe, so the certification could hint that such a OnePlus watch may not initially see U.S. shores.
In a recent interview with Input, Lau talked about how the company was trying to work with Google on improving Wear OS and its connectivity, or lack thereof, with the greater Android ecosystem. Since OnePlus is all about community and making its products work seamlessly with each other, Wear OS' seeming disconnect would certainly steer the company away from any potential watch running the OS. Still, Lau stated that Google was open to working with OnePlus, although we don't know how far things have progressed in these talks.
There's also the fact that OnePlus' sister company, Oppo, recently released its first smartwatch dubbed the Oppo Watch. It takes on a very familiar design and even runs a skinned version of Wear OS what apparently runs very well, as noted in our Oppo Watch review.
And while OnePlus denies any sharing of design concepts between the companies, they do share a supply chain and so it wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility to imagine a OnePlus watch that looked a lot like Oppo's.
The recent Wear OS updates and new Qualcomm chips could have also been a factor in OnePlus revitalizing its plans to release a watch. And with the right software tweaks, adopting the new Snapdragon Wear 4100+ could put a OnePlus watch in the running for the best Android smartwatch of 2021, depending on how other companies plan do adopt the chip.
The OnePlus 9 series smartphones are believed to have a launch set around March, and with Pete Lau giving the OnePlus watch release a timeframe of "early next year", it would make sense for it to launch alongside the upcoming smartphones.
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