Rookie smartphone company OnePlus has removed the need for an invite to buy its One smartphone and announced a date for its follow-up device.
The $299 One — which we found to be great value for money — launched a year ago but, until today, customers needed an invite in order to buy it. (Aside for some exceptions here and there.) That was a strategy to both help manage the level of interest in a new product from a new company, and generate a little more attention among the tech community.
“We now feel confident that we have matured enough to handle the increased complexity that comes along with opening up sales completely,” OnePlus said in a blog post, which acknowledged it had learned “an immeasurable amount” during its first year of business.
One of those important lessons will include running sexist competitions to sell smartphones — that doesn’t work at all. Details of that incredibly stupid gaffe — if you can chalk a planned marketing campaign up to an error of judgement — weren’t included in the blog post, but the incident soured the OnePlus brand for a lot of people.
OnePlus also picked today to confirm that its new device — the OnePlus 2 — will launch in the third quarter of this year. That device will only be available via an invite, so the company isn’t discarding its sales restrictions forever.
China-based OnePlus is one of a clutch of new hardware firms emerging in the sub-$300 smartphone niche. Xiaomi, which sold 60 million phones last year, is the most prominent example, but others include Le TV, and Smartisan. OnePlus sold a relatively modest one million devices in its first year, but it seemed to capture attention beyond China and has developed its own unique software — for those reasons, its follow-up smartphone is worthy of note.