The OnePlus One should be on its way to some of us in June, but you can't just walk into a retail store and pick one up. The company is an invite system to get devices into consumer's hands. There have been quite a few questions about the invite system and how it will work. OnePlus posted an updated a few days ago on their forums, clarifying some common questions that are being asked. The five month old company has had a somewhat rocky start so it's good to see them interacting with potential customers and those of us who are interested.
The first question they address is about how we can get an invite. OnePlus says that the way most of us could get an invite is through someone else who already has a One. Early on, the company will be giving away invitations through contest and raffles, but the majority of invites will come from other users. This goes along with the grass roots theme of their launch campaign. They say the first batch of invitations will start trickling out in late May, so we only have a few weeks to wait for that.
The invites will only be good for a limited time, so if you receive one, you'll need to use it fairly quickly. OnePlus says invitations to purchase a One will only be good for 24 hours, typically. This will prevent potential customers from receiving an invitation and then sitting on it. It also means you can't hold an invite until your next paycheck comes in, once you receive it from a friend. If you buy a One and then get invites to hand out, those will usually last about 1-2 weeks before expiring. They specifically stated that the numbers of invites given to customers to hand out to their friends will vary, with only a few made available in the beginning.
You also don't automatically receive invites to hand out when you purchase a phone. The company will be manually handing out invites to customers after they purchase a One, but it's completely at the company's discretion.
OnePlus is doing all of this to control supply and make sure they can meet expected demand. The company is only five months old and they don't know how this will all play out. It's an exciting time, but it's also a scary time. Fortunately, when they have made mistakes, they set them right.