Carl Pei: do people want OnePlus around or not?
Startups make a habit of raising hell in their respective industries because not only do they are out to “fix” said industries, but they have to differentiate and provide better services than the old guard does. OnePlus told us that we should “Never Settle,” that we should “Shatter the Past” and that ladies (worth ogling over) come first, but “no nudity please.”
Taking the company’s word at face value has been hard in its infancy, especially because everyone’s working off of their own definitions of “settle.” Co-founder Carl Pei is insisting that OnePlus isn’t settling. He spoke during the last day of Web Summit 2015 in Dublin.
The key takeaways for the hardware picture:
- OnePlus will release two annual smartphone models.
- The OnePlus 2 took 15 months to go from blueprint to market. According to Pei, it’s admittedly “longer to develop than we had originally hoped.”
- On the OnePlus X, “in terms of the build and design, it is a flagship phone.”
- The Snapdragon 801 inside it doesn’t mean the “X” should be considered a mid-ranger “just because it’s a little bit smaller and cheaper.”
- Other factors like the camera and build take importance for a general audience product.
- Not a factor right now is NFC because “in reality after people calmed down and thought about it, they really don’t use a lot of NFC.”
- NFC will be back “when it becomes the mainstream.”
- Other such small features that OnePlus might not include in future smartphones “all add up” to the cost.
- “I don’t think we’ll ever look at removable batteries,” because of the resources needed for capacity, protection and reduced size of the battery.
On moving around money:
- Pei expects the company to register a small loss for the year after rapidly expanding staff.
- After getting software and hardware down pat, OnePlus looks to grow its margin by tackling services, though not with pre-installed apps because “that’s the sort of stuff people really hate.”
- Other than with Maxis network in Malaysia, there have been no carrier or retail agreements for OnePlus.
- “If you’re just in someone else’s store, you don’t get to control the story … “
On the way devices are sold:
- Conventional sales periods for the OnePlus X will start next month (the OnePlus 2 will follow). They’ll be weekly for an hour-long period.
- Pei said the invite-only sales system is meant to stave off the “two to three months” of lead time between supply and selling.
- In regards to how well this strategy worked for the OnePlus One, “we still had a little bit of inventory left over […] in components.” Those were sold on the second-hand market.
- “Maybe in a few years” the company will completely end the invite system, citing that the smartphone space is very high risk.
- “A lot of the choices are disappearing. Sony might get out of the smartphone industry, HTC too, while BlackBerry is also struggling […] It’s easy to criticize, but in the end do they want OnePlus to be around or not? Do they want more choice?”
- Online commentary is “not an accurate representation of how things are.”
We’re looking forward to your opinion, be it from the minority or majority, in the comments below.