OnePlus is a rare success story in the smartphone startup business. After building a reputation around stylish, well-equipped, unlocked phones for cheap, the company achieved profitability on more than $1 billion in revenue last year, and recently earned the backing of T-Mobile for its first U.S. carrier deal.
Now, OnePlus is looking beyond phones, with founder Pete Lau telling Business Insider that the company wants to release a television next year. While the details on the OnePlus TV are unclear, one thing is already certain: OnePlus wants to put a camera in it.
Other TV makers, including Samsung and LG, tried putting cameras in their televisions several years ago, but eventually stopped doing so amid security and privacy concerns. Lau told Business Insider that OnePlus “will have a solution” for privacy, but didn’t get into specifics. The company’s other goals are similarly vague: The OnePlus TV will reportedly connect with users’ phones somehow, offer an AI assistant, and work with various smart home ecosystems, but there’s no word on what specific software or services OnePlus will lean on.
One of the reasons for OnePlus’s smartphone success is that it led the way in commoditizing the market. But TVs are already a commodity, and companies like Roku and Amazon are already offering cheap, high-quality sets with expansive ecosystems attached. In this business, OnePlus might find it much harder to stand out.