2019: The Year Of OnePlus’ Global Ascension?

OnePlus 6T Thunder Purple

The last year has been exceptional for OnePlus. Both the OP6 and OP6T have been hits with the Indian buyers and they entered the US market with the OnePlus 6T. in my books, they are at a critical mass and will be getting into the big league globally this year. Here is why I think 2019 will be the year of ascension for OnePlus globally.

OnePlus has been riding a wave of success the past two years and they are now firmly seated in a position from where they can very easily become a top smartphone brand in the whole world. There are a lot of solid reasons why I believe this very firmly. Let us see what these reasons are in detail.

OnePlus is no longer an upstart company looking to disrupt the premium smartphone segment, they already have disrupted the premium segment. They have successfully challenged the likes of Samsung and Apple in India and actually beat the biggies at their game.  They have done this using a very thoughtful and effective strategy of making devices that are the right mix of top end hardware and excellent software. Every OnePlus device performs extremely well from day one and does the same every single day.

OnePlus 6T Mirror Black

Right from the OnePlus One, every OnePlus device, barring the OnePlus Two, which eventually went through a series of fixes, has been a solid performer and none of their devices have even had slightest issues when it comes to clean and blazing hast performance. You may say that other brands also have solid performers, but the key difference between the OnePlus flagships and them is the fact that the OnePlus phones perform the same from day one and continue to do that every day. There are people who still have the OnePlus One and swear by it’s performance. I have personally used every OnePlus flagship till date and know for a fact that there is absolutely no sign of lag or loss of speed in any of them. There are very few brands who have achieved this. And in the Indian market, OnePlus is the only brand in my opinion that has done this.

To put it in the words of Carl Pei, Co-Founder, OnePlus “OnePlus is very clear as a company that we don’t want to do anything that is consumer-hostile just because our competition is doing it or talking about it. It may be something that is perceived as cutting costs but in the end, our devices will deliver a value proposition that is unlike any other brand in the market and we will do it consistently” And having studied and very closely observed them over the years, I can say that the institutionalized priority of not doing something just for the sake of it has stood them in very good stead. Take the OnePlus 6T for example. The device is their biggest success till date and when you look at the spec sheet for the phone you will see that things like an IP certification for water resistance and wireless charging have been carefully left out from it. While there are those who say this is a problem, the larger number of people who swear by the  value and performance that OnePlus devices deliver will know that adding these would have added to the cost of the device and simply not made much practical sense in the long run either. The end result of this thinking pattern has been the fact that OnePlus devices have been consistently hailed as the best performing Android phones whenever they were launched. People know that they get exactly what they expect from OnePlus

When the OnePlus One came on the scene, it had the best hardware that one could think of running with Cyanogen that was arguably the most fluid version of Android at that time. The price at which this package came was a miniscule fraction of what other brands wanted for similar devices. This combination intrigued the Indian buyers so much that they did not mind jumping through the hoops of an invite system and the overheads of getting the phone shipped into India from overseas. There was a mad craze for the OPO and it wasn’t looking like dying at all.

OnePlus 6T Thunder Purple Lifestyle Image

Then the divorce happened with Cyanogen and personally I consider it more Cyanogen’s loss than anything else. Oxygen OS was born and around about the same time, the OP2 also took birth. This was a tad bit of a challenge for the brand as the UI and the device were more of a miss than a hit with the public. There was a long list of issues that people had with the OS and the phone. At this point, OnePlus did something that proved to be a pivot into the big league for them. They buckled down, owned up to the issues and setup a brilliant listening channel with the community and went to work on the issues. Iterations followed on Oxygen OS and it became one of the most appreciated flavors  of Android around.

Then the OnePlus 3 happened and the brand never looked back from there. The OP3 was a resounding success and they did what most brands would never do, come out with a mid-cycle refresh with the OP3T and the users loved it. The numbers were good and the brand was singing all the way to the bank. The same is true for the OP5, OP5T and now the OP6 and OP6T

So as a brand, OnePlus has all things going for them, like having devices that get repeat customers and listening as a process for product management. Their recent entry into US market has also been good. 2019 is very definitely going to be the year they break into the global big league and move on to the next level.

About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

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