The smartwatch market is about to get a little bit more crowded this year. OnePlus has confirmed its working on a smartwatch — referred to in leaks as the OnePlus Watch — to take on the likes of the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.
Apart from that official confirmation, though, there’s a lot we don’t know about the OnePlus Watch. However, we expect to hear a lot more details about its cost and features as we get close to the OnePlus Watch launch date.
Here’s everything we know about the OnePlus Watch so far and how it plans to take on the best smartwatches, just like OnePlus’ phones have shaken up the smartphone world.
OnePlus Watch release date
Word of a OnePlus Watch first emerged in August when a listing for the device appeared on the Infocomm Media Development Authority website. But the rest of 2020 passed without a watch appearing.
That’s going to change this year. No less a source than OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has confirmed that a OnePlus Watch is in the works. In a tweet on Dec. 22, Lau said that the watch would arrive "early next year," meaning 2021.
Many of you said you wanted a watch, and as you might have heard over the weekend—we're making one, to be released early next year. Wishes do come true.🎁 https://t.co/H1Fqv9srXjDecember 22, 2020
The question is what exactly Lau means by “early,” a period that could cover anything from as soon as this month to sometime in the first half of the year. The OnePlus Watch could debut alongside OnePlus’ next flagship phone, the OnePlus 9, but that handset isn’t expected to arrive until mid-March if the company sticks to its usual six months between phone rollouts. Earlier reports had claimed the OnePlus 9 would arrive before the watch.
Another clue could come from a second rumored OnePlus product, the OnePlus Band. Reports claim that this fitness tracker is coming during the first three months of 2021 as a low-cost alternative to the OnePlus Watch. You’d think that means both devices would launch simultaneously.
Our best guess? We’d assume the OnePlus Watch’s launch will coincide with the OnePlus 9, though OnePlus has held separate launch events for its non-phone releases, such as the TV set it sells exclusively in India.
OnePlus Watch price
Unfortunately, there aren't any concrete details right now on how much the OnePlus Watch will cost. Given that this is the company's first smartwatch, there isn't an existing product that would give us a hint about pricing.
We’d assume that the OnePlus Watch will be marketed much like OnePlus’ phones, which attempt to deliver premium features for less than what comparable flagship phones cost. If that’s the case, you’d expect the OnePlus Watch to be positioned as an alternative to devices like the Apple Watch, which starts at $399 for an Apple Watch Series 6 and $279 for an Apple Watch SE.
OnePlus Watch features
During the OnePlus 8T launch in mid-October, OnePlus took to Twitter with a sketch that appeared to show a OnePlus Watch design. That design features a circular display, fueling speculation that OnePlus would opt for that look on its upcoming smartwatch. Leaker Max Jambor (@MaxJmb), who chronicles the upcoming moves of OnePlus, expects that to be the case.
We’ve also got a pretty good idea of what software the OnePlus Watch will run. CEO Pete Lau told Input in a December interview that OnePlus was working with Google to make a smartwatch. Since Google’s Wear OS powers other wearables, you’d expect that means the OnePlus Watch would also use Google’s software, though Lau suggests he’s looking for an improved version of the operating system.
“What we're trying to do is work with Google to try to improve the connectivity between the Wear OS ecosystem, Android TV, and Android smartphones to create this ability for better device interoperability across the ecosystems," Lau told Input.
Should the OnePlus Watch work with Wear OS, it could feature the Snapdragon Wear 4100 chipset, one of the newer mobile processors for wearables. However, there’s no leak to support this speculation just yet.
OnePlus Watch outlook
It's still very early in the OnePlus Watch's life cycle to make any educated guesses about how the device will perform, especially with key details about the watch’s features still to emerge.
We're hoping to see some fun features included with the OnePlus Watch. With a number of competing smartwatches already available, the OnePlus Watch will need somecompelling capbilities to set it apart from the rest of the pack, especially the Apple Watch Series 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. Fitness and health tracking features seem like they’ll be a must have, though, and OnePlus would also do well to include complementary features in any upcoming phones.
Expect to hear a lot more about the OnePlus Watch between now and its release in the coming months.