OnePlus smartphones will skip ColorOS and continue to run Oxygen OS in India, Navnit Nakra - Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer - OnePlus India told India Today Tech in an exclusive conversation. ColorOS is the custom Android skin used on Oppo smartphones. OnePlus recently announced that the newly launched OnePlus 9 series will come with ColorOS in its domestic market instead of the in-house HydrogenOS. But, the smartphone maker doesn't have similar plans for the Indian market, at least for now.
"At this juncture, we can't comment much on the colorOS but in India, all our smartphones will continue to come with our own OS that we have been working on," Navnit said. Notably, the OnePlus 9 series has also launched in India with Oxygen OS 11 on top of Android 11.
OnePlus is working on a successor to its last year's highly popular mid-premium smartphone OnePlus Nord. The new smartphone is set to be introduced in the first half of 2021. To recall, the smartphone maker had entered the mid-premium category last year with the launch of OnePlus Nord. It was the most affordable 5G smartphone in India at the time of launch.
"I have a great news for you. We will be bringing a successor to the OnePlus Nord, hopefully before the end of first half of 2021. And, if you have been a OnePlus Nord user last year, you will be supremely delighted with what's coming your wayhopefully, by the end of first half of 2021 calendar year," Navnit said, while also confirming that the smartphone maker doesn't have any plans of bringing the OnePlus Cyberpunk Edition to the country.
OnePlus Nord was one of the more popular smartphones from the company in 2020 a year that saw it cross 300 million units for the first time. OnePlus will continue to push in premium segment while giving more options in the mid-premium segment under the Nord project.
"As a growing technology brand, we would love to serve a much larger portion of the society and offer them great products in a price segment which is very attractive for India. That's the ambition and aspiration we had when the Nord project was started. We saw a growth of 200 per cent on both premium phones and Nord. And, 2020 was the first year when we crossed 300 million units. So, on one side we have continued to build that premium story and have also introduced a mid-premium Nord phone," Navnit said.
OnePlus Nord project isn't smartphone maker's only attempt at affordable options. It has also added an India-specific OnePlus 9R model to its latest series which aims to bring a premium experience at a more aggressive price point.
"We saw a very specific need from the Indian community, specifically aligned to the gaming enthusiasts which wanted a premium flagship phone but at a more affordable price point. These consumers are young and vital to us. We believe that OnePlus 9R will serve that community very well," Navnit said.
The OnePlus 9R is priced more aggresively at Rs 39,999 for the base variant while the 12GB RAM variant of the phone costs Rs 43,999. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor.
Navnit revealed that the smartphone maker will continue to launch India-specific smartphones in future as well, without entering the Nord territory.
The smartphone maker's other recent efforts include a collaboration with Swedish camera maker Hasselblad to improve the camera performance on its smartphones as well as an investment of $150 million over the next three years. The first result of this partnership is the recently launched OnePlus 9 series which comes with Hasselblad-partnered cameras.
"OnePlus' core philosophy is to deliver the best experience to its users. This is how we do all our partnerships. Hasselblad is an 80-year-old camera passionate company and the first moon shot that ever came out was taken on a Hasselblad camera. It changed the way we viewed the outside world. That inspired us to look at this partnership," Navnit replied, when asked OnePlus chose Hasselblad over other camera makers.
The smartphone manufacturer hopes to learn finer details about the camera performance and improve user experience during this three-year-long partnership.
Going forward, the smartphone maker will focus on 5G technology and improving the camera performance on OnePlus smartphones. This is in-line with OnePlus co-founder Pete Lau's statement from 2020 where he said that the smartphone maker has been investing on 5G technology and believes that this is the way forward. OnePlus also has big plans for the Nord series and smart TVs.
"We want to double our mid-premium strategy. We look forward to invite more community members to experience OnePlus phones and the Nord series serves that purpose. Our TVs have become big hit. With Work from Home, gaming and home entertainment becoming popular, we also see the possibility of a second or third TV at homes," Navnit said.
OnePlus started as an online-only brand, selling its smartphones through e-commerce platforms but is expanding its footprint in the offline market too. The company will be spending more on super premium flagship stores going forward. It also plans to expand its pick and drop service to over 150 cities across the country.
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