Last week, OnePlus officially announced their second smartphone, the OnePlus 2 – a follow up to the 2014 “flagship killer” OnePlus One smartphone. The OnePlus 2 is based around the premise that a flagship device does not need to have a price tag of over $500 and instead are offering customers a high end device with a low price tag. The OnePlus 2 has attracted considerable media attention with over one million customers visiting OnePlus’ website to request an invite to purchase the smartphone in just three days. The device is based around a 5.5-inch, 1080p resolution display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with 4 GB of RAM (in the launch version, a lesser variant will be available later in the year with 3 GB of RAM), 64 GB of internal storage (the lesser variant will feature 16 GB) and a raft of detail improvements over the first OnePlus device, the One, including the camera and build quality. The OnePlus 2 also bucks an industry trend by deleting NFC, a feature which OnePlus do not believe has been used so much and will likely not be missed. American newspaper USA Today interviewed OnePlus’ co-founder, Carl Pei, to talk about the business so far.
Carl’s anecdotal story of how OnePlus came about is interesting. Two years ago, a number of people who went on to form OnePlus were in a restaurant and noticed many customers using the iPhone. They asked the question of why and agreed that it was because nobody cared about the end product as much as Apple does. The follow up question was: “who is the second most product focused company making smartphones?” and the group were unable to agree on a name, with Samsung, HTC and Sony brands all touted but rejected. OnePlus, therefore, was founded on caring about the product as much as Apple does. Carl also explained that the OnePlus smartphones are not about selling a cheap ‘phone but about making pragmatic business decisions to cut out the middle man: by selling direct to the customer, they are able to keep end prices lower and still make a profit. OnePlus’ prudent business model, which involves building the smartphone in limited quantities to ensure there is not a warehouse containing thousands of unsold One handsets tying up capital.
In the interview, Carl also explained that OnePlus do not envisage a OnePlus television, home scale or even fitness band, but instead they will work on making Oxygen OS (the Android based operating system that the OnePlus One and 2 devices run) compatible with “everyone’s stuff.” But the big news is Carl explaining that OnePlus have plans for a second smartphone to be released before 2016. He would not be drawn into the detail of the handset and would not say that the third device has a higher or lower specification than the OnePlus 2, but he did say that because the OnePlus 2 is so well made, it would be a difficult decision as to what model he would like as his daily device.