Funny thing about OnePlus. It’s a company that elicits strong emotions from the tech community at large and our editors here at Pocketnow in particular. We were circling up just the other day talking about the OnePlus 5 and we had some pretty varied opinions about the device and what it needed to be. But one common theme came up from all of our editors here – it’s time for OnePlus to grow up.
They grow up so fast
Yes, OnePlus needs to put on its big boy pants and start really making an impact. OnePlus has been around for quite some time now. It is starting to transition from the “flagship killer” of old into a new persona of just being the best, regardless of price point. This is an incredibly dangerous proposition coming from OnePlus which still has phone on backorder for eternity. Yes, OnePlus did finally do away with the gross invite system – and thank goodness. But if OnePlus really wants to be “the best” then it needs to start forming relationships with carriers and growing relationships with manufacturers. If OnePlus wants to be the best, it needs to deliver the best just as fast as the best do.
The OnePlus 3T was a great device. But the bar in 2017 is miles higher than where it was in 2016. This year, the major players are water resistant, have dual cameras, multiple biometric unlocks, and insane screen to bezel ratios. All of them need to be on point if OnePlus is going to play on that field. Even midrange phones are getting pretty crazy. If OnePlus is still about never settling and flagship killing, it needs to keep up with the Joneses in a big way.
Go with your strengths
Plus, lets face it, OnePlus is still playing in that midrange space. So, if it is going to continue to build on the reputation of its past, if needs to come in at a price point that is equally crazy. Or, it needs to go head to head with the major players. I for one am not sure that OnePlus is equipped to do either, to be perfectly frank. Being a flagship killer isn’t necessarily about specifications all the time, but in 2017, those specs will mean more than ever before.
Basically, OnePlus needs to decide where it is going to play and go all in on that. If it’s going to be a midrange phone producer who knows where to cut corners, it will need to be laser focused and on point. If it’s going to try to stand toe-to-toe with Samsung, LG and HTC, then its design and premium feel needs to be ridiculously on point. Personally, I think OnePlus needs to stick with what it’s good at – midrange phones. I don’t think it can compete with the Galaxy S8 or the LG G6. I could be wrong, and that would be exciting, but there you go.
The fact is that OnePlus is still a reasonably small company with precious few other resources to draw on. OnePlus is not LG that can lose money on smartphones as long as it still sells a bunch of TV’s. The diversification is not there; nor is the name recognition. OnePlus is in a much better place than it was even two years ago, but it’s not in a place where it can start producing high-end phones and expecting it to carry the business across the finish line.
Rather, OnePlus needs to get back to its flagship killing roots and smartly cut the corners it can afford to cut, and perhaps not go after Samsung head on. Rather, be smart and economical, and continue to shore up those supply chain relationships. If it wants to put out a high-end model later on in the year – limited edition models and all that, fine. But at its core, the OnePlus 5 needs to be a great midrange phone, at a great midrange price. Just because Samsung raised its pricing level this year doesn’t mean OnePlus automatically gets to follow suit. The original OnePlus one was an incredible phone for the price, and subsequent models have been in the good-but-not-great bang for the buck category. I would like to see a OnePlus 5 selling in the $399 range, and going up from there. Anything more and OnePlus’s ambitions might be greater than its ability to deliver.
Jules Wang, Jaime Rivera, and Juan Carlos Bagnell contributed to this article.