When the OnePlus One first launched, it was a bit of a grand experiment: would users respond to a phone sold in such an unusual invite-only manner, one from an unproven manufacturer, and running something of an enthusiast version of Android? There were plenty of rough moments, sure, and OnePlus’s ambition clearly exceeded its means in key ways – like the failure of the StyleSwap cover idea – but OnePlus pushed on, and last year we saw the company really start coming into its own. The arrival of the OnePlus 2 proceeded much more smoothly, and the debut of the OnePlus X gave shoppers an even more affordable hardware option. Now what does 2016 hold for the company? Co-founder Carl Pei has started to give us an idea, as he confirms plans to launch the OnePlus 3 by the end of June.
That marks a noticeably earlier launch window that the phone’s predecessor, which didn’t go official until the tail end of last July. It remains to be seen just how soon after this Q2 announcement the OnePlus 3 might ship, and if the company can finally resolve early distribution headaches that have plagued past launches.
One thing we’ve been wondering a lot about has been the role invites could play in this new phone; after both the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X did away with their invite requirements just a few months after launching, we were curious if it might finally be time for OnePlus to drop them for good.
While Pei hasn’t confirmed anything about invites yet, he has said that the company intends to put a big focus on US sales, more traditional smartphone marketing campaigns, and a “better buying process.” There’s ample room for interpretation there, but to our ears that sounds like a strategy that might not be the best fit for invites – or at least not in the way OnePlus has done them in years past.