OnePlus did not show very subtly that the company̵7;s first smartwatch appeared on the way. This isn’t the first OnePlus hacking on a wearable whip, reportedly a prototype watch was developed in 2015 – the firm’s inception – but eventually decided against the release.
Important question: what will the new device mean for rivals like Apple and Samsung? Quite a lot.
Google Pixel 5 has just landed, but is it useful? See my review here.
Before OnePlus released its wireless applications, I wrote about how the company’s focus on smart connectivity between its devices would be a key selling point. Purchase a OnePlus and get rewarded with ecosystem-specific exclusives: similar to the ultra-low latency mode that Buds automatically switches when playing on a OnePlus phone.
In a May interview with OnePlus CEO Pete Lau, they explained where the company plans to implement this vision of the ecosystem in the future. “As a first example, the company points out how its smart TV has a shortcut to switch between programs and can automatically turn down the volume when a call comes to OnePlus phones,” the story explains.
Lau calls it all “deeper optimization,” and I suspect it will be the same for the OnePlus Watch. I am glad to see how the company forces all related technologies to sing harmoniously together. I can imagine, for example, that the OnePlus Watch is used as a remote control for your OnePlus TV with more in-depth control. But this type of collaboration between OnePlus devices is not why Samsung, Apple and others should worry. How OnePlus rates the watch is important, and I would be happy to argue that the Chinese company is very, very low.
I mention OnePlus Buds because they were surprisingly cheap. They hit the market for $ 79 – much less than Google Pixel Buds ($ 179), Apple’s AirPods ($ 159) and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus ($ 149). The new OnePlus Buds Z is even cheaper – $ 50.
OnePlus 8 has brought the company back to its roots thanks to high performance classes at a low cost. OnePlus Nord did the same, but went a step further in price. The marketing line of the company’s “flagship killer”, which it unceremoniously abandoned – as its phones rose in price – can now legally return. OnePlus Watch will almost certainly follow the company’s recent sharp transition to pricing strategy. Expect wearable devices to be not just $ 20 or $ 50 cheaper than the expensive competition, but something close to two-thirds of the cost or even less.
It’s not just OnePlus that goes that route. Google has retreated from creating a first-tier flagship in recent years, and Samsung has released a surprisingly cheap version of the Galaxy S20. Many of the technical briefings I actually attended this year talked about making cheap devices for non-cash consumers who have less money because of the economic damage caused by Covid-19. The flood of cheap OnePlus devices in 2020 shows that it follows the same logic, which means that we can expect the same aggressive level of wearing at some point in the near future.
Is there advice, thoughts or something to complain about? Let me know.