OnePlus has always painted itself as somewhat of an industry rebel. With a slogan like “Never Settle”, it challenged the mobile market status quo and launched a premium flagship smartphone with a price to die for. It now wants to do the same for what it bills as a stagnating TV industry. The rules of the game, however, are slightly different which is why the company is making what is perhaps its most unusual business decision so far. The OnePlus TV will, for a while, be limited to one and only one market: India.
Most probably presumed that OnePlus with launch its first ever non-smartphone smart device in markets where smart TVs are quite popular, like, say the US. Or at least OnePlus would first launch it in its home country of China. Its decision to focus solely on India, however, isn’t simply to woo one of the fastest growing markets for smart devices. It’s also because of content.
More than phones or even tablets, the phrase “content is king” applies even more to TVs where all you really do is consume content. Unlike with mobile apps, the selection of content on TVs, even smart TVs, are at the mercy of partnerships with content providers like studios and cable companies. OnePlus doesn’t have that much clout in China and even less in the US, which is why it is limiting the device to India for now.
CEO Pete Lau admits that a smart TV will be about more than the display but it may be the TV’s weakest point. Year after year, OnePlus phones have had problems with display quality or even touch input. Since it may have less technology and factors to work with, OnePlus can hopefully also focus on making the screen problem-free.
The OnePlus TV will be launching in September, Lau confirms. It will probably still get some international media buzz, especially for an ambitious upstart like OnePlus. The limitation of its availability, however, could also hurt its chances of generating interest outside India.