OnePlus enters the smartwatch business

Chinese consumer electronics firm OnePlus has made a name for itself in recent years by offering high quality smartphones at a budget price – a strategy that has drawn the attention of major influencers like Marques Brownlee. Over the last year, however, the company’s prices have begun to creep up to flagship territory, with the newly announced OnePlus 9 Pro coming in at just under a thousand bucks this month (still slightly cheaper than Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra for $1,200). Now, the next step in OnePlus’ evolution may be to carve out a niche in the wearables space – an area dominated by Apple and Google (which owns Fitbit).

The first-ever OnePlus Watch features deep integration with OnePlus smartphone notifications, music playback, and photo functionality, and it’s compatible with Bluetooth earbuds. For those who own a OnePlus-TV, the new watch can also be used as a remote control. And for the many wearables owners who rely on fitness tracking during activities, the OnePlus Watch also provides IP68 water and dust resistance, GPS capability, blood oxygen saturation monitoring, stress detection, breathing training, rapid heart rate alerts, and sedentary reminders. The device supports over 110 different types of workouts, and syncs with a new OnePlus Health app for Android, too.

As a new competitor to the space, OnePlus is offering its Classic-edition OnePlus Watch for $159, which compares favorably to Fitbit models that range in price from $180 to $300. There are also plans for a Cobalt Limited Edition, which utilizes a cobalt alloy case and sapphire glass for enhanced brightness and improved scratch resistance. The price has yet to be unveiled for the Cobalt model. Battery life could give OnePlus an edge with competitors, too, as their smartwatch boasts up to two weeks of battery life with continuous use, and supports fast charging similar to their smartphones – 20 minutes of charge time can net a full week of power, the company says.

Entering a market mostly divvied up between two giants (Apple and Google) won’t be easy for OnePlus, but the good news is that its audience appears to be interested in purchasing a wearable. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, 23% of OnePlus smartphone owners in the US intend to buy a wearable in the future, which puts the customer base on even footing with Apple and Google. Now the challenge will be for OnePlus to make sure those customers stick to their ecosystem when they do take the wearable plunge.