If you utter the name OnePlus around tech crowds who are at least aware of the company’s existence chances are, that people will have something to say about them. Either about how they feel about OnePlus themselves or about the quality of products that they put out. It wouldn’t be too presumptuous to state though that OnePlus has been looked at with more negativity than they likely would have hoped for over the few years since they have been producing smartphones for the market. This may be the case, but OnePlus seems like they’re beginning to grow up, even if only just a little bit. The company is turning a new leaf, coming into their own so to speak, and starting to fill the big shoes that were placed at their feet just before and during the launch of the OnePlus One.
A big noticeable change can be seen in the way that OnePlus is operating with their marketing. Prior to the launch of the OnePlus One, the general consensus from many individuals who knew about OnePlus was that the company was arrogant and that they wouldn’t be able to live up to all their hype and boasting. Marketing blitzes across social media seemed to only be about how much better their phone was going to be compared to the competition, the likes of which were some of the biggest phone manufacturers. Take into account some questionable contests to win a device or more commonly, an invite to buy the device, and OnePlus definitely had a shaky beginning. Fast forward to today, and to the launch of the OnePlus 3, and OnePlus has changed their tune a little bit. There was no more boasting about being a flagship killer and making side by side comparisons with other top-tier flagships. No more contests that made the tech community cringe and raise their eyebrows with a bewildered look on their face, and, most importantly, it seems that OnePlus has started to operate a little bit more effectively when it comes to the actual manufacturing. A good example of this is the lack of an invite this time around for OnePlus most recent device, the OnePlus 3. Back when the OnePlus One initially launched, it was available through an invite due to stock. OnePlus was a startup company and no matter how you look at it, they simply didn’t have the capital to waste or take big risks with, which meant they had to limit device manufacturing to orders that had already been fulfilled instead of producing a bunch of phones and then trying to sell them after the fact, hence the invite system as this allowed them to control how many orders were being placed. Perhaps a necessary evil in OnePlus' eyes, but not one that went over well with any consumers.
While the invite system and OnePlus’ lack of inventory during the launch of their first device, and for that matter their second device, left something to be desired, OnePlus has come around to some degree with the launch of the OnePlus 3, their third flagship and most recent phone to date. This time around, OnePlus has done away with the invite system that was put in place for their previous devices, and the phone was made available to buy in a number of regions at launch the day of and just a day after the official announcement of the phone. Compared to both previous flagship devices, this is a rather huge step forward for the company. The low stock and slow fulfillment following the launch of the OnePlus One shouldn’t have been a major surprise considering the invite system to buy. The OnePlus 2 however, should have had a smoother arrival, and by all accounts most people thought this may have been the case, or at least they were hoping it would be the case following the promises from OnePlus. Unfortunately, the OnePlus 2 launch did not go as smoothly as planned, with the company’s Co-Founder, Carl Pei, personally apologizing on behalf of OnePlus for messing up the launch. Improvements with their latest phone launch aside, acknowledging their mistakes on an open forum to their customers and apologizing for it is also a big step, and taking what they had learned last year and moving forward with the OnePlus 3 launch this year shows. Something which suggests that the company is definitely doing what they can to better their standing in the market.
Perhaps the only thing that could have been implemented little bit better was the way they held the announcement for the phone. The announcement was available to watch in VR just like with the announcement for the OnePlus 2, but just like with the VR announcement last year, users were having issues connecting. Beyond that, though, the launch itself seems to have placed OnePlus back in good graces with consumers, or it should have. Having immediately available stock is not a bad thing, and the device also launched with good specs, some which people weren’t sure would make the cut. Case in point, NFC. With the OnePlus 2, OnePlus stated that they felt NFC wasn’t needed as many people weren’t using it. This was an issue for users especially in markets where mobile payments were beginning to take off. With the OnePlus 3, NFC was added back into the mix along with the returning fingerprint sensor which made its debut for OnePlus on the OnePlus 2. This meant that OnePlus 3 owners would be able to utilize mobile payments through Android Pay and with the fingerprint sensor as an authorization method. Services like Android Pay are only continuing to grow and having both the fingerprint sensor and NFC onboard to allow their customers to take advantage of this was a smart move on OnePlus’ part, again, suggesting that they have learned from past experiences and are learning to read their customers better, turning a new leaf as it were.
Yes, it does seem that OnePlus has turned things around quite a bit for the OnePlus 3 launch. They have added what most consumers these days would probably consider a piece of hardware that should have been implemented for last year’s flagship, and they did away with the invites to buy the device while also having enough stock on hand for people to buy. On top of all of that, OnePlus had begun to fulfill orders for the OnePlus 3 as early as just a few days after the initial announcement for the phone, which was only two days after the phone’s initial launch in some areas, three days in the U.S. as it was available to order the day of the announcement which was June 14th. With tons of people ordering the phone both on the 14th and on the 15th, you might not have expected OnePlus to start shipping out devices the same week, but just days later shipments began arriving on people’s doorsteps which is an insanely fast turnaround. Ok, perhaps not insanely fast if you already have the stock on hand, as Google typically ships out Nexus devices in 1-2 business days after it launches, but for a smaller company like OnePlus who has had issues in this particular area in the past, this was another huge turning point for the company.
The OnePlus 3 is perhaps not the perfect smartphone but it is a stellar offering and it is right up there with the best of them this year, coming in at an affordable cost while offering mostly the same top-tier specs. All that is on top of what, by comparison of older devices at least, was a nearly flawless execution of the phone launch. I say nearly because it's entirely possible that there may have been a hiccup somewhere, but not on any level of comparison to previous launches or enough to gather OnePlus any sort of attention. Phones were stocked prior to the sales going live, orders were fulfilled quickly, and the phone launched with high anticipation and for the most part delivered in all areas. This should give OnePlus fans high hopes for an even better launch of the next OnePlus flagship.