OnePlus started out on this journey, being known as the company that makes "flagship killers" for much less. And it seems to have lost that way recently, but according to OnePlus' CEO, Pete Lau, cheap phones are coming back to OnePlus.
In an exclusive interview with Fast Company, the CEO stated that the company is going to make cheap phones again. In the interview, Lau says that "once known for selling nice phones at hard-to-believe prices, OnePlus wants to get back to making more affordable phones while also expanding into new product categories."
What that likely means is that they will still make their "premium flagship" phones, like the OnePlus 8 Pro. But also offer some cheaper options, like the rumored OnePlus Z that is coming later this summer.
OnePlus will offer a glimpse of this new strategy in India soon
As is typically the case with executives in interviews, Lau did not mention any devices by name.
But Lau did mention that "a glimpse of the new strategy will arrive soon with an announcement for India. Later this year, the company hopes to bring lower-priced devices to other markets, including North America and Europe."
It makes perfect sense that OnePlus would show off these new, cheaper devices for India first. As that is still OnePlus' biggest market. Not to mention the fact that India loves cheaper smartphones. As opposed to flagship smartphones – like the US.
Why is OnePlus having a change of heart?
When OnePlus first launched the OnePlus One back in 2014 for $249, it was mind-blowing. As other smartphones were over $600. OnePlus had to go in at that low price point because there was way to much competition in the smartphone industry. And that was a way for OnePlus to garner attention.
So why is OnePlus returning to making cheap phones again in 2020? Well, that's how it's going to grow its ecosystem and get more people hooked on its products.
The big difference between 2014 and 2020, is the fact that OnePlus has a pretty large ecosystem. This includes different accessories like headphones and battery banks and much more. That OnePlus could sell to its customers.
On top of that, more and more people are looking for less-expensive smartphones. As these smartphones are all topping the $999 mark now. Which leaves a lot of space in the sub-$500 space and even in the $500-$750 space that OnePlus could really take advantage of. That is the space that Motorola and Nokia (HMD Global) has really owned in the past few years. And more competition will be great for consumers.