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OnePlus teases return to bargain phones and we’re excited for the OnePlus Z again

In a recent interview at Fast Company, Pete Lau confirmed that the company will return to its roots and start making budget smartphones again. But the OnePlus CEO also hinted that the company plans to expand into some new products categories…

When OnePlus first started out, it created a simple smartphone priced at £229 that completely changed the market. The phone was a great performer despite its unbelievably low price-tag and consumers soon warmed up to the idea of mid-range, budget smartphones.

Related: Read our OnePlus 8 review

Since then, things have changed at OnePlus and the company now offers some impressive flagships with big price tags to match. The phones perform well but they’re not ground-breaking pieces of tech by any means.

In the above-mentioned interview, Lau has said he wants to return to making great all-rounders at unbelievably low prices. This doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve seen the last flagship from the company, but OnePlus loyalists who’ve been patiently waiting for a new budget blower will be rewarded for keeping the faith. We’ve been hearing rumours about a more affordable model called the OnePlus Z for a while and this could very be what Lau is referring too.

Building cheaper smartphones aren’t the only strand of strategy mentioned in the interview, as Lau also lays out a plan for OnePlus to create products in new categories and develop an ecosystem so that these devices that play nicely together. A bit like Apple, but on a much tighter budget.

Part of that plan is to invest in software to create the above-mentioned ecosystem. As pointed out by interviewer Jared Newman, many bigger companies have tried and failed to do this, so it’s a risky move for OnePlus. But it could mean we’re not far away from seeing a more diverse range of products from the company, too.

Related: Best smartphone 2020

So far, the company is being fairly tight-lipped on what those new products might look like, but it wouldn’t be surprising if we saw a wearable from the company soon.

If we look at similar companies like Realme, Oppo and – to an extent – Honor, then we can see a regular pattern in terms of building up a smartphone user base and then expanding into new categories.

Just this week Realme announced a new Smartwatch along with a couple of new TV models (OnePlus has already dived into the AV market). And both Honor and Oppo already have wearable gadgets.

So will we soon see a brand new OnePlus watch? Fingers crossed. But we won’t get any further hints until the company does its strategy announcement later this year in India.

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