OnePlus smartphones usually draw huge interest from technology enthusiasts. The OnePlus phones are well built, carry high-end specs, give its users smooth and unique software experience and are not exorbitantly priced. However, with every new OnePlus device the price of the phone has continually increased and with OnePlus 7 Pro, the Chinese phone major is entering into the space dominated by the flagships from Samsung, Google and Apple.
OnePlus CEO Pete Lau had recently revealed the approximate price of OnePlus 7 Pro at around 5,000 Yuan or Rs 50,000! That's a huge bump in the price for a device that is known for being affordable. OnePlus was started as a company that released phones as close to the flagship category as possible for a mid-range price. But, with yearly price increase, the value in their phones is starting to diminish as they are now standing next to big brands like Apple and Samsung.
A true flagship smartphone is a zero compromise phone. Having just the latest processor doesn't make a phone premium. Last year Xiaomi's sub-brand Poco launched its F1 device with flagship Snapdragon 845 processor at a sub-25K level, but it was still miles behind the big three and same goes for OnePlus too. OnePlus devices still lack wireless charging, IP rating and a secure facial scanner. The company has already ditched headphones jack and micro-SD card slot for good. Samsung and Apple, on the other hand, have often pushed the boundaries and are still the aspirational devices.
OnePlus has often attributed the increase in price to its R&D requirements. However, there is more to it than what meets the eye. OnePlus is a subsidiary of OPPO and borrows its hardware designs from it. Also, many of OnePlus' employees including Pete Lau were originally OPPO employees. The now famous Dash charging feature of OnePlus was borrowed from OPPO's VOOC. Most of the OnePlus' phone designs have been handed out to them directly by OPPO, skipping the R&D costs. Just go through the OPPO's lineup for clues as to what to expect from OnePlus' new smartphone!
The real reason why OnePlus is trying to move away from the mid-segment market is the presence of Xiaomi, Honor and Samsung. Also, the profit margins in the middle segment are lower and OnePlus is hoping that the shift in the strategy will help it to stay relevant in the long run. OnePlus has gained enough goodwill in the Indian market and it wants to ride on the popularity. The phone company has already been listed as the top five premium smartphones with a market share of 2% by the market research firm Counterpoint. OnePlus wants to grow further in 2019 and is hoping that OnePlus 7 Pro will allow it to take on Samsung and Apple, both of which are feeling the sting of flattening smartphone sales. Phone innovation has hit the dead end and OnePlus sees this as an opportunity and wants to replicate its performance in India in other global markets as well, especially the US.
"In 2018 the recognition for OnePlus reached new heights, in 2019 we want to take forward this recognition to broader, deeper level", Lau said.