The OnePlus maneuver to the TV market is unlikely to now happen before 2020. At least, this is when it’s now expected consumers will be able to buy a OnePlus-branded TV. The updated time-frame comes courtesy of various reports over the past week that have attributed the 2020 launch year to comments provided by the company's founder and CEO, Pete Lau.
The comments are fairly minimal but the answer given when asked whether the TV will launch in 2019 or not, was “perhaps in 2020.” Although this does not necessarily rule out that the first TV product from the company won’t arrive next year, it does certainly seem as though 2019 is no longer the goal - it was previously with similar reports earlier in 2018 also attributing comments to Lau and confirming 2019 was the intended year for when the first OnePlus TV would hit to market and become available to purchase.
Software apparently the issue
In addition to providing an update on the expected launch year, Lau also stated the software is proving to be one of the main sticking points and what's slowing down the company’s launch ambitions. Again, while the details given were limited, Lau noted that it “requires a huge amount of work” when it comes to getting the”software upto the standards we expect.” Lau further padded out these comments by saying the company does not want to release the product until it's ready. More specifically, OnePlus does not “want to release something that’s more or less already out there in the market.” Which feeds back into the same narrative as before that OnePlus is looking to bring to market something that offers a different user experience to what’s already on offer.
2020 does not mean you can buy in 2020
One of the other revealing elements in the brief comments was the OnePlus TV is unlikely to launch everywhere, and certainly not at the same time. The comments were given to an Indian publication and were made in relation to an Indian launch. Based on this, not only did Lau confirm India won’t get the TV until 2020, but “India will be one of the first markets to get the OnePlus TV.” This in itself seems to add weight to the likelihood of the 2020 timeline, while also explaining the TV is not going to be released on a global scale at the same time, if at all. Instead the OnePlus TV will be made available in select markets at first, including India. In addition, even the retailer level is likely to be a little limited with Lau confirming the TV will be sold in India through Amazon with no reference made to the availability of any other retailer. It is likely a similar retailer-limited approach will be in effect in the other select countries the TV launches in during 2020.
Lau did not make reference to any of the other launch countries and so there’s no information, or guarantees on whether the OnePlus TV will become available in the US or Europe.
What we know so far
OnePlus has been extremely closed off when it comes to revealing firm details on its TV and instead has pointed to vague suggestions on what users can expect. For example, the software has been touted as one of the main differences (as it was again today), along with the suggestion this TV will make a play for greater smart home integration. To the point where the TV is as much a smart home hub as it is a TV. In fact, previous comments have alluded to the TV being more of a smart home hub than a TV. Although it still remains unclear what is meant by this and how it will be any more smart home capable than other TVs that are currently on the market and also support connections to smart home products through the use of additional software-based technologies, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
The TV will also reportedly be a 4K LED TV, and unlike its smartphone lineup, the TV is not expected to come running on the company’s own OS platform but instead will use a partner’s solution. Something that further adds to the confusing narrative as it remains unclear how the OnePlus solution will then differ from other TVs that also run on the same unnamed partner solution. Or whether that solution will be willing to allow OnePlus to customize the experience as much as it wants and especially if that customization results in a much better product than the partner company offers with its own solutions. Unless of course, OnePlus is referring to Android TV and if that's the case, it also remains unclear how much Google will permit changes to the Android TV interface which typically is common among different device-makers. Though there are some exceptions to that rule.