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Android Headliner: 2016, OnePlus’ Year In India?

December 13, 2015 - Written By Kristijan Lucic

OnePlus has been founded back in December 2013, and they’ve come a long way since then. This China-based company managed to capture people’s attention last year when they introduced the OnePlus One, the self-proclaimed ‘flagship killer’. This smartphone is considered to be one of the best devices of 2014, even though it’s not that well known amongst average consumers. OnePlus has actually managed to sell quite a few of OnePlus One devices to date, even though they were enforcing the invite-only policy for quite a while.

That being said, OnePlus has announced two additional devices this year, the OnePlus One’s successor, OnePlus 2, and the mid-range OnePlus X device. Many people would agree that OnePlus did a great job once again, and has managed to release not only a worthy successor to the OnePlus One, but also a great mid-ranger which doesn’t look mid-range at all. Thanks to OnePlus X’s metallic chassis and glass panels on both its front and back side, this handset looks far more premium than you might think when you hear how much it costs. The OnePlus 2 actually ships with 4GB of RAM and is powered by the Snapdragon 810 SoC, which is still one of the most powerful SoCs available in the market at the moment. The OnePlus 2 also features a fingerprint scanner, and includes a metallic frame this time around. The OnePlus X sports a somewhat older Snapdragon 801 SoC, 3GB of RAM and there’s not fingerprint scanner in sight, but this handset sure has its benefits though. Other than its great looks, and really solid specs, OnePlus X is also quite affordable. These two phones have been available for purchase for quite some time now in various regions, and the sale number are quite good despite OnePlus’ production limitations.

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Now, OnePlus’ handsets have been quite limited at first, but the company is now shipping their phones in quite a few countries. The company has significantly expanded the availability of their handsets, especially in Europe. Well, we’re not here to talk about those countries, but about one country in particular which is very important to OnePlus, India. This Asian country is currently the second largest smartphone market in the world, and no wonder pretty much every well-known OEM has decided to sell their devices over there. On top of all this, India’s Prime Minister has actually kicked off ‘Make in India’ program a while back, which basically rewards OEMs if they opt to manufacture devices in India, and many of them actually decided to board that train, OnePlus included. We’ll talk more about that a bit later though.

OnePlus has actually set a sales goal for the Indian smartphone market at the beginning of this year. The company has said that they aim to sell 1 million OnePlus-branded devices in India, and it seems like they’re about to miss that goal. The company’s executive has actually confirmed this fact, which is interesting, let’s see why that is, shall we. OnePlus devices have been quite popular in India, and quite frankly, OnePlus could have easily hit their sales target in the 2nd-largest smartphone market in the world. So why haven’t they? Well, supply chain issues are definitely to blame here, but even despite that, India is a huge market for OnePlus, this Asian country accounts for over a third of OnePlus’ annual sales, which is a lot. “In the initial two months, we weren’t able to get stock, due to which we lost almost 6-8 weeks of sales,” said the General Manager of OnePlus India, Vikas Agarwal. So, even though OnePlus missed their sales goal, and has basically failed, this really doesn’t paint the right picture. OnePlus has joined the ‘Make in India’ initiative, and they’ve recently scrapped the invite-only policy for OnePlus 2 in the country, which means their production capacity is significantly bigger now, which are great news. So, all in all, we can expect OnePlus to manufacture far more devices in India next year, all things considered, but in eyes of many people the company has failed due to the fact they haven’t been able to meet their sales goal.

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Let’s swing back to ‘Make in India’ initiative, shall we. OnePlus has actually partnered up with Foxconn in order to manufacture devices in India, and even though the partnership has been announced back in October, the operations still haven’t begun, which actually explains why there were production limitations. OnePlus and Foxconn suffered a setback along the way, and it seems like the two companies will kick off India operations in mid-to-late January, which is not that far away, just in time to start selling devices at higher capacity in India. OnePlus’ devices will be manufactured in Foxconn’s facility in SriCity, which is actually near Chennai. It is worth mentioning that this info has been confirmed by Mr. Agarwal. So, how important will this agreement with Foxconn be for OnePlus? Well… extremely important. Not only will the company avoid import taxes, but their products will be far closer and ready for delivery in the country. The agreement with Foxconn will actually make it possible for OnePlus to manufacture 500,000 phones a month in India, which says a lot. To put it into perspective, I’ve mentioned that OnePlus wasn’t able to meet their 1 million sales goal in India this year, well, with the increased production capacity and no invite-only policy, they should be able to cross that number with ease, and then some. On top of all this, OnePlus has also kicked off various promotion deals in India, read on.

Back in October, the company has announced that OnePlus One devices will be delivered within one hour in the Indian city of Bengaluru after they’ve been ordered online, if that’s not the case, the company will give that phone to the consumer for free. This promotion didn’t last for long though, only three days, but it sure is a good way to promote a device. That’s not the only promotion OnePlus did, not by a long shot. Another one worth mentioning regards to the OnePlus 2. The company has actually agreed on a partnership with Ola, whose cabs actually drive around with OnePlus 2 devices inside in select Indian cities. People can book a cab the usual way (via an app) in order to take them somewhere, and during the ride, they can get the full OnePlus 2 experience.

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So, as you can see, OnePlus is definitely determined to succeed in India, and it will surely going to be interesting to see what happens next year. The General Manager of OnePlus India has refused to set a sales goal for the company in 2016, but it will surely going to be higher than one million devices. Considering the company’s production power in the country, well, upcoming production power, OnePlus will definitely be able to meet the demand, and along with that sell far more devices. OnePlus is rather popular in India, so that has never been a problem, but they were simply not able to manufacture enough devices, not to mention the invite only policy. As already mentioned, OnePlus 2 invites are a thing of the past in India, and OnePlus X will soon board that train as well. In addition to all this, OnePlus’ newly found manufacturing power in India will actually let the company ship devices to other markets from India, they surely won’t be able to sell everything they produce in the India… or will they? Quite probably not, but we’d love to hear what you think on the matter, how many devices do you expect OnePlus to ship in India? Will the company be a lot more successful next year compared to 2015?