The OnePlus 5 shows that OnePlus is growing up

I want to be clear about something right off the bat. OnePlus did a great job putting the OnePlus 5 together. You’re looking at top shelf specs, and really good camera performance for a fraction of what comparably performing phones cast. That’s all ready good news, especially the price. Starting at $479, the OnePlus 5 is a strong competitor for your bargain phone dollar. But I’m starting to wonder if OnePlus is starting to lose something in generation after generation of phone.

So plucky

OnePlus used to be that plucky start up that was taking it to the big boys by releasing killer hardware at rock bottom prices. OnePlus was also not without its marketing mishaps. I’m not bringing these up to pile on. What I’m pointing out is that from the beginning, OnePlus has always been something of an oddball, and often in a good way. Whether it was killing flagships, or getting you to smash your phone, OnePlus was always there making headlines.

Now with the OnePlus 5, we’re seeing something of a changing of the guard with OnePlus. I’m not sure, but I think it’s a good thing. I think we’re starting to see OnePlus mature into a respectable smartphone manufacturer. OnePlus is not a company that needs to rely on gimmicks or tricks to put out a great smartphone that people will love. That’s a really great thing, but it does lend itself to a couple of problems.

Shed a tear

First, it’s a little sad to see OnePlus grow up. Much like a parent watching a child leaving the nest and going off and making their own decisions, so too must we embrace this new mature OnePlus. We won’t be treated to the wonder and goofiness of the old OnePlus. We know it’s a bad idea to let the internet rate women, but OnePlus didn’t. And as infuriating as that was, it was also a little cute, in a michevious kind of way. Oh OnePlus, you little rascal. So, in theory we will see less and less “fun” OnePlus show up to Thanksgiving dinner.

Second, and most important, OnePlus is growing up and will need to stand on its own merits from now on. That’s really hard to do. On the one hand, the OnePlus being OnePlus attitude was often frustrating, confusing, or both. But at the same time, it was easy to write off as OnePlus being OnePlus, and that was that. A little hiccup of a laugh, a shake of the head, and we could all move on.

Now that OnePlus seems to be maturing into a responsible company, it has a much harder task ahead of it. It needs to be perfect. No longer will that plucky little startup be able to fall back on the fact that it’s a plucky little startup. It’s time to sit at the big kids table – napkin tucked in and everything. Every decision going forward will be scrutinized and put under the microscope, because stuff just got real in the world of OnePlus.

The future is out there

I, for one, am looking forward to seeing OnePlus put its best foot forward for us. I’m excited to see what this clearly smart company has in store for the future. I also love how it presented itself today – in a mature and thoughtful way. OnePlus emphasized all the points that mattered to its audience – OnePlus is a company that gets it. But there’s one other problem that OnePlus needs to figure out – how to integrate that dog into more announcements. Actually, I’m kidding, but not really kidding.

OnePlus needs to figure out a way to continue to stand out. You see the problem with growing up and becoming mature is that you also start to blend in with all the other adults out there. For a company like OnePlus, I’m not so sure that’s the best way to stay relevant in this space. This is a crowded place to try and make a premium phone. Low pricing is a great start – the amount of value you get for the OnePlus 5 is incredible – but I’m hoping that OnePlus can figure out another way to go that extra mile and get into the public mindshare, along with the likes of HTC, LG, and Honor, never mind Samsung and Apple. If OnePlus can figure out a way to do that, and still keep up this level of competition, then it will be a force to be reackoned with.

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About The Author
Adam Doud
Adam joined the tech world after watching Jon Rubenstein demo the most epic phone ever at CES 2009. He is webOS enthusiast, Windows Phone fan, and Android skeptic. He loves the outdoors, is an avid Geocacher, Cubs/Blackhawks fan, and family man living in Sweet Home Chicago, where he STILL hosts monthly webOS meetups (Don’t call it a comeback!). He can be found tweeting all things tech as @DeadTechnology, or chi-town sports at @oneminutecubs. Read more about Adam Doud!