‘Flagship Killer’, ‘Cult status among enthusiasts’, ‘Never Settle’, ‘The Next Big Thing’… Sounds familiar? OnePlus may have already named its first offering in the simplest form possible – ‘One’, but consumers seem to have taken it upon themselves to rename it in as many avatars as possible.
I for one am secretly pleased at the company’s naming strategy for its masterpiece. It drives home the message simply. The last company that created a euphoria in the hand-held market placed an “i” before “Phone”. Small things that make a big impact.
Smartphone Redux: China, The Next Frontier
China was already known to the world as a global production powerhouse; but lately we’ve been seeing a spurt of companies emerge that not only produce them, but conceptualize and design superb smartphones as well. Lenovo, Oppo, Xiaomi, ZTE, and so on. OnePlus is one of the latest to join its elite compatriots and they already seem to have made quite a noise globally.
Who are these people?
Founded in December 2013 by Pete Lau in a way that was almost akin to a stealth startup, OnePlus set out to create exceptionally appealing devices with superior build quality and best-in-class hardware. And they seem to have stuck to their ideals, with the real sweetener being the prices they offered. An affordable flagship phone isn’t something you hear very often; but the One was just this, and quite a competitor at that!
Okay, I’m Impressed. What else is there to it?
The OnePlus One mobile phone features a highly customised version of the Android KitKat 4.4 OS, the Cyanogen 11S. This custom firmware gives users more freedom to personalise settings, icons, themes and several other aspects on the interface. Its 5.5-inch screen renders immersive HD visuals at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with a 13 MP rear camera to boot. Sporting a 2.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, an Adreno 330 GPU and 3 GB of LP-DDR3 RAM, this phone will fly and you will barely tax it no matter what you throw at it.
In addition to this, the 3100mAh LiPo battery is sure to keep the phone running for a full day if not more, depending on one’s usage on a single charge.
Due to the recent exclusive partnership struck by Cyanogen with Micromax to promote its mod-OS alongside with the “Yu” smartphone, automatic OTA updates to the mod-OS will not be available going forward. But worry not, device owners will still be able to manually update their phones as it’ll be available for OnePlus customers in other countries. Minor inconvenience that could have been avoided altogether. Cyanogen, what were you thinking?
E-commerce Partnerships: Strategic shift or a marketing gimmick?
Gone are the days when consumers regularly thronged the brick and mortar stores of vendors to look at the umpteen number of phones on display. You looked around, talked with the salesperson and then decided on that one phone that caught your eye, just before buying it.
But things have changed over the past year. Online sales and exclusive tie-ups with major e-retailers seem to have cast a lasting impression over a lot of potential buyers. The recently introduced Android One devices, Xiaomi and Jolla to name a few, have all taken the e-route to sell their products and to get conversations started on their brand.
But is this a good thing? Only time will tell, but this particular strategy seems to have paid dividends to the aforementioned products for their foray into this market. And though questions are being raised as to such strategies being anti-competitive and of having a monopolistic mind-set, they all seem to satisfy legitimacy concerns at the moment.
How this will impact a vendor’s relationship with their established distributors is another question all together. We will however, let this debate rest for now.
OnePlus has announced that it has partnered with Amazon to be its exclusive reseller in the Indian market. Not just for its flagship phone but extending to the accessories as well. The penetration of newer players in the market through this route seems to have spurred OnePlus to do the same. And going by the hype this product already commands, get ready for the all too familiar ‘Out Of Stock’ message to greet a lot of potential customers looking at buying the phone.
In fact, things may be a little different this time around with OnePlus rolling out its company’s global invite system here in India as well. But how many invites are out there? Can the company cater to the demand? Questions we hope that will soon be answered and in the affirmative, for the consumers’ sake.
Priced very competitively at Rs. 21,999 (approx. SGD 470), they will quite likely have a runaway winner on their hands and the third biggest smartphone market will be that much easier to conquer.