Ahead of rumors and sketchy supposed leaks of the OnePlus 7, company CEO Pete Lau has spoken about potential foldable OnePlus devices and heavily rumored smart-TVs at the European Design Institute in Milan, as reported by Italian outlet Repubblica.

Although this comes as no real surprise with foldable display and device technology still in its infancy, Lau made a bold claim that folding devices ‘don’t do anything notably different’.

He also mentioned that the brand has been considering a foldable phone for ‘over a year’ but explained that OnePlus has been unable to build a device that gives users that trademark OnePlus experience.

This definitely fits with the OnePlus ‘Never Settle’ ethos, but Lau was not completely averse to folding tech, instead stating that once the tech matures we could see it in future OnePlus devices.

Foldable displays offer, or rather offer, interesting possibilities, although probably not so much in the field of telephones.

For smartphones now the curvature of the screen that folds is too wide and therefore the thickness is excessive.

When instead we get to be able to fold it [the display] like a sheet of paper without damaging it or marking it, then the technology will mature. We’ll get there, but not immediately.

The start of an ecosystem

So instead of folding displays, OnePlus looks set to focus on building a smart TV. With Lau confirming that a OnePlus smart TV is indeed in the works.

It will be a TV that can communicate with the phone without any barrier forming a single true ecosystem.

To make the TV really smart you needed a company that knows a smartphone by heart. I prefer the term ‘smart displays’ rather than TV. Today, for example, when you come back home you have to look for the remote control to turn on the television and this is already a really dated system.

I imagine a screen that is always ready and anticipates various needs. Artificial intelligence from this point of view can do amazing things and is maturing very quickly. AI can learn from habits and provide what is needed when needed. We’re working on it, but it’s too early to talk about dates.

Lau confirmed that this ‘smart display’ will act as a hub for other OnePlus smart devices, citing the dated TV remote as one area that would potentially see innovation in the future ecosystem.

OnePlus 5G

That ecosystem is one of the core principles that Lau seems to be focused upon with OnePlus moving forward. Smartphone and smart-display tech could be the start, although he quashed rumors of a OnePlus car.

No, we don’t want to build a car. That is a very complex world. I think more about software or you prefer a platform.

In the true era of the Internet of Things, in ten years, everything will be connected but it is impossible for a single company to build all the devices that surround us.

That’s why I think of a platform. The 5G in perspective, from 2025, will allow us to offer a sort of super virtual assistant that will assist us in ways that are difficult to imagine today.

We’re intrigued by Lau’s remarks of a ‘super virtual assistant’ and what that could potentially look like. OnePlus is expected to release a 5G smartphone at some point in 2019. It does remain to be seen as to whether this upcoming smart TV will come with the wireless connectivity feature or simply just a Wi-Fi connection.

It’s pretty clear that OnePlus is looking at wider tech and therefore could be branching out from disrupting the smartphone space in the very near future. It’s also not that unexpected to hear that we are unlikely to see a OnePlus foldable in the near future.

Let us know what you think in the comments section below, would you cop a OnePlus smart TV?

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Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email: damien@9to5mac.com

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