Last week marked the official launch of the OnePlus One, the first smartphone from OnePlus, itself a new company founded by ex-Oppo employees. At least, that’s the story we were given, but are we missing an important detail? Over the weekend, a minor controversy has gotten stirred up over allegations that OnePlus isn’t quite the plucky independent startup the company has presented itself as, and may instead be owned to one extent or another by Oppo.
The first suspicious connection turned up in historic DNS records, with connected Oppo contact details to the oneplus.net domain name. Then securities paperwork revealed Oppo to be the single institutional stockholder for OnePlus. While we’re sure there might be a number of possible explanations for these links, we’ll admit that there does appear to be a closer Oppo/OnePlus connection than may have been publicly acknowledged.
But even if OnePlus really is an Oppo subsidiary, does that change anything? Well, while that whole invite system for One purchases is a little odd, we were willing to let it slide as as necessity for an upstart company just getting its bearings in mobile sales. But Oppo’s no newcomer, so was all that a show, just to help build up buzz? It’s questions like that – about OnePlus’s desire to be perceived as an upstart – that are causing sore feelings in light of these new suspicions.
Still, the OnePlus One looks like some top-shelf hardware at a steal of a price. Even if Oppo’s the one behind it all, are you still interested?
Update: OnePlus has spoken up to try and set the record straight. It says, “…OnePlus is a separately run company that does share common investors with OPPO. One of those investors is OPPO Electronic. OPPO Electronic is an investment company and is not the same as OPPO Mobile. OnePlus is also in talks with other investors.”