When OnePlus launched its first smartphone – the strangely-named OnePlus One – back in 2014, it was a smaller operation than it is today. Phones were sold through an invite system that was meant to effectively distribute the small supply despite the significantly wider demand. Back then, when the company could only produce a limited number of phones, it was unimaginable to consider more than one ‘flagship killer’ a year.
The Chinese smartphone maverick has come a long way since then. In the nearly four years since the first product was launched, there have been a total of seven smartphones launched, and that once weird name is no longer considered weird apart from the occasional ‘OnePlus 5 equals six’ jokes. The last 18 months have seen the launch of four products from OnePlus – the OnePlus 3, OnePlus 3T, OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T. So, for a small company that’s going the Apple way when it comes to product strategy, why is OnePlus releasing so many smarphones?
We spoke to Szymon Kopec, Product Manager, OnePlus Global, at the sidelines of the OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition launch in Mumbai. He shared a few insights into the OnePlus 5T, and what makes it tick, including the story behind the OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition.
“The reason we’re launching so many smartphones so quickly is because we want to give fans and buyers the chance to have the best device possible. In the case of the OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 5T, we believed that there were enough improvements to warrant the launch of a new product. Additionally, these new products and the successes that they have enjoyed ensure that we have the funds for software development into our older smartphones. This is visible in the OnePlus 3 and 3T, which were among the earliest smartphones to receive the update to Android Oreo,” said Szymon, when asked about the frequency of product launches.
He further elaborated, “The Star Wars Limited Edition can’t be classified as a new product; rather just a new color and themed variant of an existing product. As far as the core smartphone experience is concerned, the OnePlus 5T isn’t replaced by the Star Wars Limited Edition in any way, and you can still buy the midnight black variant of the phone.”
We also asked him about what to expect for the OnePlus 5T in the upcoming Android Oreo and OxygenOS 5.0 update. “The primary goal of the upcoming software update is to get Android Oreo and its stock feature set running on the phone. Future software updates could add tweaks and improvements, but the immediate update’s key element will be the switch from Android Nougat to Android Oreo.” The OTA for both the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T are expected to roll out in the coming weeks.