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In surprise announcement, OnePlus says it’s going to make a smart TV

OnePlus, the company best known for its competitively priced, high-specification smartphones, has announced it will develop a smart TV. The new product will be created by a separate division of OnePlus, which will run in parallel to the phone division, and still be headed by CEO and founder Pete Lau.

Lau describes televisions as, “conventional and cumbersome,” in a press release regarding the move, and although he gives nothing firm away about the company’s plans, does mention the difficulty with which certain functions are still carried out on a TV, such as wirelessly showing photos from a phone. He also mentions artificial intelligence — but then, what company doesn’t today — hinting that OnePlus’s TV will be a fully connected, simple to operate device that learns from the way we use it.

The OnePlus name is most often seen on smartphones, but the company has made a variety of  complementary products over the years, ranging from the excellent OnePlus Bullets Wireless headphones to a series of very well designed backpacks, and other apparel. Lau himself has a background in home theater products, having worked in the Blu-ray player division at Oppo Electronics before moving over to smartphones.

What are the reasons to be excited about a OnePlus TV? If the division is run like its smartphone department, we can expect products with the current must-have features, without superfluous features no-one uses, and at a reasonable price. For those who don’t know the company’s phones, the OnePlus 6 smartphone challenges flagship phones from Samsung and LG, yet costs from $530 — significantly less than its competition. Despite the difference in price, the OnePlus 6 looks and feels every bit as expensive and premium as those that cost $900.

Additionally, OnePlus uses Android as the operating system on its phones, but enhances it with a user interface named OxygenOS, which is clean, easy-to-use, and attractive. OnePlus phones are also updated regularly — a new version is released approximately once every six months — allowing it to always offer the latest tech. Design is an area where OnePlus has improved considerably since it started out making phones in 2014 too. Outside of the company’s technical achievements, it also has a committed, and highly engaged fanbase, who will likely jump at the chance to have another OnePlus product in their homes.

OnePlus continues to be disruptive in the smartphone industry, and we can see it causing similar problems for established firms in the television industry too, if it can transfer everything it has learned over the past years into a new product line. There’s no information on when a OnePlus TV will launch at the time of writing.

The OnePlus 6T, the company’s next smartphone, will launch in October.

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