Yesterday, major specifications of the OnePlus Watch were leaked. The leak claimed that the upcoming product would offer a week’s battery life with just 20 minutes of charge. This translates to the device not running WearOS – I was making an educated guess here since WearOS devices don’t even last as long as two days. However, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has confirmed that the company’s first smartwatch will not run Google’s WearOS.
On a forum post, he wrote, “When developing the OnePlus Watch, we tried to understand the pain points for a smart watch wearer. We chose to go with a smart wear operating system developed based on RTOS because we believe it provides you a smooth and reliable experience while offering a great battery life, covering some of the biggest concerns we’ve been hearing from people looking to buy a smartwatch.”
Now, RTOS is a perfectly capable operating system for a wearable. Thanks to its less power-consumption nature, it gives manufacturers the flexibility to go with low-end processors and keep the costs down. This also allows the wearable to last longer than the usual WearOS-running devices. Generally, a WearOS-running smartwatch gives you a maximum of two days battery life, while a RTOS-running watch can last up to 14 days! I’m really happy (like my colleague Nadeem) that an upcoming product from OnePlus will last me a week with 20 minutes of charge but my major pain point with RTOS remains.
RTOS and notifications
On one hand, OnePlus Watch not running WearOS gives me hope, on the other, I’m a little skeptical. My issue with RTOS is lack of support for actionable notifications. I’ve tested at least half a dozen smartwatches running RTOS in the last six months, and one major gripe that I’ve had with them was that they weren’t “smart” enough.
RTOS doesn’t allow you to take action on the notifications. For instance, you’ll know what your friend messaged on WhatsApp but you’ll not be able to reply to the message. Heck, you can’t even swipe to remove the notification from your smartwatch – at least that’s how it is on the watches I’ve used from Amazfit, Huawei and Honor.
It informs you but you cannot do anything with that information. You’ll need your smartphone for taking any kind of action. On the other hand, WearOS is smart enough to enable actionable notifications.
I wish OnePlus had found a way to offer a good battery life with WearOS. That way, we’d have the best of both worlds! Call it wishful thinking but I hope it happens someday. (I’ll not go into third-party app support here. Personally, RTOS does the work for me with the inbuilt apps).
You’ll get long battery life on a single charge! That being said, it would be interesting to see how OnePlus differentiates its offering from that of Huawei and Amazfit. The latter offers a slew of features at a price point that’s hard to beat. Lately, Amazfit has been doing a good job with its GTR 2 and GTS 2 series of smartwatches, and it is also rumored to bring ECG support in the future.
As for the leaked specifications, the OnePlus Watch looks like any other smart wearable available in the market. It is tipped to offer automatic workout detection, a swimming mode, sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, stress tracking and more. The usual stuff like SpO2 sensor and notifications. It is rumored to also allow you to make or answer phone calls, and control music on your smartphone.
While there is no word on pricing, we expect it to be a budget offering, and around the price range of Amazfit GTR 2. It is said to be made available in both standard and LTE variants.
OnePlus is yet to showcase its product. We might see some surprises at the launch. I’m hoping to see at least one.