The big picture: Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus is planning to release its first wearable device early next year. The company initially aimed to launch a smartwatch years ago but wisely chose to play the waiting game and let the market mature a bit. Now it seems that the timing is right to move forward with a new product category.

In a recent post on Twitter, co-founder Pete Lau said fans have long requested the company make a watch. "As you might have heard over the weekend - we're making one, to be released early next year," Lau added.

This isn't the first we've heard of a smartwatch being linked to OnePlus. Back in 2015, the company developed a wearable for the budding segment but ultimately scrapped the product before bringing it to market. Lau told The Wall Street Journal at the time that "we have to be focused."

In hindsight, that was probably a wise move. Smartwatches didn't infiltrate the consumer electronics market as quickly as some experts had anticipated. For years, they struggled with practicality issues - that is, what were they good for, aside from telling time? As the tech evolved, health and fitness emerged as the big selling point for most smartwatches and that remains true today.

Waiting also gave OnePlus more time to grow its brand, especially important in this scenario considering the company was only founded in late 2013.

OnePlus has since expanded its product line and now offers headphones, power cables, cases and even branded backpacks and tote bags. At this junction, a smartwatch does seem like the next logical step in OnePlus' product evolution.