OnePlus has not been too revealing to announce that the company’s first smartwatch is coming soon. This is not the first time OnePlus cracked a wearable whip, it allegedly had a watch prototype built in 2015 – ahead of the firm’s existence – but it eventually decided against a release.
The important question is: what does the new device mean for major smartwatch rivals like Apple and Samsung? Pretty much.
Google’s Pixel 5 just arrived, but is it good? Watch my review here.
Before OnePlus released its wireless buds, I wrote about how the company’s focus on smart connectivity between devices would be a major selling point. Buy a OnePlus device and be rewarded with exclusive ecosystem-specific features: such as ultra low-latency mode that Buds automatically switches to when playing on a OnePlus phone.
An interview with Fast Company with OnePlus CEO Pete Lau in May explained where the company plans to take the vision of this ecosystem in the future. “Like the early examples, the company teaches how a smart TV has a shortcut for switching between apps and can automatically reduce volume when a call arrives on OnePlus phones”, the story explains.
Lau called it all “deeper optimization” and I suspect it will be the same for the OnePlus Watch. I’m excited to see how the company does all the tech related singing together. I can imagine, for example, a OnePlus Watch used as a remote for your OnePlus TV with deeper controls. But the kind of collaboration between OnePlus devices is not why Samsung, Apple and others should worry. How the price of the OnePlus on the watch is what matters and I am happy to bet the Chinese company goes, very low.
The reason I mentioned OnePlus Buds is because they are surprisingly cheap. They launched $ 79 – significantly less than Google’s Pixel Buds ($ 179), Apple’s AirPods ($ 159) and Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus ($ 149). The new OnePlus Buds Z is cheaper than $ 50.
The OnePlus 8 has returned the company to its roots with high-end specifications at a low cost. OnePlus Nord did the same but went one step further in price. The company’s “flagship killer” marketing line that accidentally collapsed – as phones slipped in value – can now make a legitimate return. OnePlus Watch will almost certainly follow the company’s recent sudden shift in pricing strategy. Expect the wearer to be not only $ 20 or $ 50 cheaper than expensive competition, but with something approaching two-thirds of the cost or even less.
OnePlus is not the only one dropping this route. Google has stepped away from building a leading flagship for the first time in years and Samsung has released a surprisingly cheap version of the Galaxy S20. Many of the tech discussions I almost attended this year talked about making cheaper devices for consumers with less money due to the economic impact of Covid- 19. The OnePlus sinking of cheap 2020 devices suggests that it follows the same logic, which means we can expect a similar aggressive price to wear at some point in the near future as well.
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