OnePlus is a China-based company, their headquarters is based in Shenzen, and the company has been around since December 2013. This makes OnePlus a very young company, especially when compared to the likes of Samsung, Huawei, ZTE, Apple… and a number of other companies out there. The point is, OnePlus is far younger than its competitors, and yet, they managed to create a name for themselves in a really short period of time. OnePlus had introduced their first smartphone in June 2014, and OnePlus One was its name. This handset managed to surprise quite a few people because it offered a really interesting design, high-end specifications, and was really, really affordable back then. OnePlus quickly became a very well-known company in the mobile world, and two more devices followed in 2015, the OnePlus 2, and OnePlus X. The OnePlus 2 was a successor to the OnePlus One, while the OnePlus X was the company’s first mid-range handset, which has, despite its very low price and mid-range tag, offered premium glass + metal build.
Most of you already know that OnePlus unveiled their third-gen flagship, the OnePlus 3, quite recently. This smartphone is somewhat different than its predecessors, but it was well received at first, and it seems like OnePlus managed to hit the target once again. Not only is this high-end handset competitively priced, but is also available invite-free, which is a first for the company. The OnePlus 3 costs $399 in the US, while the prices vary in other markets, but are still quite close to the $300 mark. The OnePlus 3, for the first time ever, sports a metal unibody build. The company released a really thin device this time around, instead of opting for a slightly thicker phone and a bigger battery. On one hand, this smartphone is similar to its predecessor, while on the other, it represents a somewhat different approach in terms of the design. The OnePlus 3 features a 5.5-inch fullHD (1920 x 1080) Optic AMOLED display, a whopping 6GB of RAM and comes with 64GB of internal storage. The device is fueled by the Snapdragon 820 64-bit quad-core SoC, which is, next to the Exynos 8890, the most powerful mobile processor on the planet at the moment. The 16-megapixel OIS camera is available on the back of the OnePlus 3, and an 8-megapixel snapper is placed up front. Android 6.0 Marshmallow comes out of the box here, and on top of it, you’ll be able to find OnePlus’ Oxygen OS skin. If you’d like to take a closer look at OnePlus 3’s specs, click here.
Now, some of you might know that OnePlus actually develops two different Android skins, OxygenOS and HydrogenOS. The OxygenOS is pre-installed on international units, while the HydrogenOS comes with Chinese models only. These Android-based skins are not as similar as you might think, but it seems like OnePlus opted to differentiate between the two due to the fact that the Chinese smartphone market is significantly different than the rest of the world, and Google Play Services don’t come pre-installed on their devices. Following the OnePlus 3’s announcement, the company said that they plan to merge development resources for the global OxygenOS and the China-only HydrogenOS skin. OnePlus promised to release more information on this later this year, but this could be a step up towards making a more unified experience across OnePlus’ devices, who knows.
OnePlus’ approach to these two OS’ seemed weird at first because other China-based companies tend to include identical skins on their devices, though the Google Play Services are not included on the Chinese variants, of course. OnePlus’ decision made people question the company’s dedication to markets outside China, but I do believe OnePlus proved them wrong. The company did not have the financial power to push the OnePlus One to every single market across the world, but they did start selling the device through their official site in select markets, which was a plus from the get-go, though China, had the upper hand. Well, Over the last two years, OnePlus worked hard in order to make their devices available to more markets, they’re now available across Asia, North America and in a number of countries in Europe. To make things clear, I’m not talking about a couple of markets in Europe, OnePlus actually ships the OnePlus 3 (for example) to quite a few countries, as you can see in an image down below. No matter whether you live in Germany, Italy, or perhaps Latvia, Croatia or Malta, you can purchase the OnePlus 3.
Having that in mind, the question remains, should OnePlus favor China over the west? Well, the answer is no, definitely not, at least from my point of view. The Chinese smartphone market is saturated beyond belief, this is the largest smartphone market in the world, but China is home to tons of smartphone manufacturing companies and the sales have slowed down. Analysts actually predicted that quite a few such companies will perish by the end of this year, so it’s not exactly odd that many companies which are focused on China are looking for a way out, Xiaomi and Meizu are actually great examples. Xiaomi is selling most of their devices in China, by far, then India comes next, and they’ve recently halted operations in Brazil, while they don't officially sell their phones in North America, Europe or Australia. Meizu, on the other hand, is also selling most of their phones in China, though they do sell them via Amazon outside of China, but they’re a lot more expensive. So, it seems like OnePlus opted to do the right thing when all things are considered, the company has access not only to the two largest markets in the world (China and India), but also North America and Europe. I do believe that the company will expand availability of their products as we move on, and that they have no intention of focusing on China anytime soon, even the pricing of their devices is comparable in all markets, which is a huge plus for the company.
So, all in all, it seems like OnePlus is trying to create a globally recognizable brand and offer their devices to as many people as possible directly from their website, which is great. It remains to be seen how many (if any) new countries they will add to the availability list by the end of this year, but it is quite possible a new batch of ‘smaller’ countries will join the list. In addition to all this, OnePlus has revealed that they plan to release non-smartphone products soon, and chances are all of those products will be available to the countries in an image shared earlier, and quite probably some additional ones which will be added. This gives OnePlus a really solid distribution network through which they can sell their products without being limited to one or two huge markets, and that might benefit the company in the long run.