OnePlus has a product launch coming next month. But it's not going to be the follow-up to the OnePlus 7 Pro, as some rumors have suggested.
Instead, OnePlus is getting into the smart TV business. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau confirmed the move in a blog post (opens in new tab) today (Aug. 20), announcing plans to launch the OnePlus TV in September. The TV set will debut in India first, potentially rolling out to other regions, including North America, if OnePlus can line up partnerships.
OnePlus' foray into smart TVs coupled with its usual fall smartphone launch has caused some confusion in the world of smartphone rumors, amplified by a recent series of tweets predicting an earlier-than-expected launch for the OnePlus 7T, a follow-up to the OnePlus 7 Pro flagship released in the spring.
Earlier this month, Twitter user Max J. from AllAboutSamsung tweeted that OnePlus' next phone would debut on Oct. 15. That rumored date was panned by TechRadar, which spoke to a source close to the matter. Still, in a subsequent tweet yesterday (Aug. 19), Max J. doubled down, forecasting a Sept. 26 launch in India, followed by an Oct. 10 launch in the U.S. and Europe.
26th September India Launch10th October US/EU Launch15th October Sale https://t.co/yKxDlzI1O3August 19, 2019
That schedule seems improbable. OnePlus tends to announce its new phones at a single launch event, rather than staggering the news by region. While it's possible that OnePlus could deviate from its past phone launch strategy, a more logical explanation would seem to suggest that any September event will likely focus on the OnePlus TV, while the OnePlus 7T will follow later in the fall.
OnePlus TV: What we know
The OnePlus TV coming in September has been in the works for a while. OnePlus is hoping to shake up TV manufacturing in the same way that its premium-features-for-a-midrange price approach took on other smartphone makers.
"We are once again determined to do something different and unique in an industry that has grown stagnant," Lau wrote in his blog post. "We still believe there’s room for a product that can deliver a more holistic and satisfying user experience."
We'll likely have to wait until the OnePlus TV launch in September for specific details. But from Lau's post, it sounds like OnePlus will focus on image and audio quality as well as design with its new TV. Because this is a smart TV, expect an emphasis on interconnectivity with other devices. The TV should be available in 43- 55-, 65- and 75-inch versions.
What we can't anticipate at this point is a release outside of India. "We are also working hard to launch OnePlus TV in North America, Europe and China regions as soon as we establish partnerships with most of local and regional content providers," Lau wrote.
What about the OnePlus 7T?
So what does that mean for OnePlus' smartphone plans? If you're familiar with how OnePlus operates, it generally rolls out two smartphones each year — a flagship model in the spring followed by a T series release of that same phone in the fall which delivers a few hardware improvements.
Typically the T version of OnePlus' phones follows five months after the spring flagship release. Considering that the OnePlus 7 Pro debuted on May 14, that would put the OnePlus 7T on track for a mid-October release. That might explain the rumors suggesting a launch date around Oct. 10 for the OnePlus 7T.
Still, that would be the earliest OnePlus has trotted out its fall smartphone. Last year, the OnePlus 6T made its debut on Oct. 29. Both the OnePlus 5T and 3T came out in mid-November in the previous two years.
We've seen leaked images purportedly of the OnePlus 7T, but haven't heard much about the phone's features. OnePlus could come out with a 5G version of the phone — Lau confirmed as much in a recent interview with the Financial Times. A 5G version of the OnePlus 7 Pro is available in the U.K. and Finland, while Sprint says a OnePlus device will join its 5G offerings at some point.