A number of phone manufacturers are working on foldable phones. While some like Royole, Samsung and Huawei have commercially available foldable devices, other manufacturers have shown off prototypes or patented designs. OnePlus doesn’t belong to any of the aforementioned groups and it might remain that way for a while. The company’s CEO, Pete Lau, revealed in an interview about its plans on foldable devices and other products they are working on.
Speaking in an interview with the Italian blog, Republica.it, Pete Lau revealed they have actually been considering a foldable phone for over a year. However, they haven’t been able to make a device they believe meets the standard they want or their users deserve. Mr. Lau believes foldable phones are still niche devices and will remain so for the foreseeable future. He also believes they don’t do anything special that a traditional phone can’t do.
He is quick to clarify that he’s not writing off the technology completely. He says foldable displays actually provide interesting possibilities but the form factor for foldable phones is still too thick and the radius of curvature needs to be reduced. He concludes that it will take time for the technology to mature.
Pete Lau also spoke about the company’s other focus for now – TVs, or rather smart displays as he prefers to call them. When asked why smart displays, he responds by saying the home is the next place they want to focus on. “TVs haven’t changed much in decades, people still get home and pick up the remote to turn on the TV” which he says is outdated already. He envisages a screen powered by AI that can predict or anticipate your needs based on your habits and actions.
To achieve this OnePlus says there has to be seamless interaction between the phone and the smart display, a unifying ecosystem of some sort. This is actually the bigger picture for OnePlus. Pete Lau says that the plan is to include the car and the office in this ecosystem. No, OnePlus isn’t building a car but a platform for automobiles that seamlessly communicate with your other devices. However, it might build PCs to get into the work environment.
Pete Lau says they are taking things one step at a time but the unifying ecosystem is the bigger picture. He adds that with 5G, they should be able to offer a super virtual assistant by 2025 that will assist us in ways we can’t imagine today.
The OnePlus Smart Display will adopt the same business model as the phones – insane value at an affordable price, but there is still no time frame for its release yet.