OnePlus, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, has no plans to invest heavily into smartwatches or virtual reality in the near future.
Co-founder Carl Pei made it clear that while it has worked on devices for both markets in the past, it does not want to become a competitor. Instead, the focus is back onto the single flagship, the OnePlus 3.
Like most things, OnePlus doesn’t want to follow the trends of most mobile companies. In an interview with TechRadar, Pei said that wearables are “too risky” and that “jumping into Android Wear would have lost us a lot of money.”
He is probably right, Android Wear has failed to capture a large amount of sales in the past two years, in part due to Google’s passivity towards the platform. It has lacked advertising space that Apple has gobbled up for its Watch, and lacks the Fitbit’s fitness appeal.
OnePlus came close on wearables but no cigar
OnePlus was close to launching a wearable last year, but pulled the plug at the last minute, possibly due to the risk factor.
It might be worth mentioning that OnePlus is a subsidiary of Oppo, which is a subsidiary of BBK Electronics. BBK sells kids watches in China under different subsidiaries and is the fifth largest manufacturer in the world, which may be another reason why OnePlus is lukewarm on the wearables market.
Virtual reality is another area where OnePlus has flirted with, but ultimately not invested in. In 2015, sent hundreds of Google Cardboard devices to fans for its OnePlus 2 launch. This year, it offered 30,000 Loop VR headsets for the OnePlus 3 launch.
PR stunts are not hints at an incoming VR announcement from OnePlus though, as Pei mentions in his interview. He believes that Oculus, Google, and Valve are the three major players in VR and it will take a few years before a winner emerges, who sets the standards for VR.
Pei does see a future where OnePlus has a VR headset, but it looks like the company is waiting to see what the prefered functionality, features, and controllers are before it invested millions into the market.