5 things you might not know about OnePlus

In just a few years, this Chinese company has managed to develop a loyal fanbase by offering a good value for the money on its smartphones. Do you know all of OnePlus’s little secrets? Let’s look at some of the most interesting little-known facts and anecdotes about the brand’s journey.

OnePlus and OPPO have a lot in common

OnePlus seems to have come out of nowhere. Where is did the brand come from? It has two fathers, one is the famous and popular Carl Pei, the other is Pete Lau, who is a former vice president of OPPO. That’s probably where the idea that OnePlus is a subsidiary of OPPO comes from, but things are a bit more complicated than that. In a nutshell, BBK is the parent company behind these two brands (and behind Vivo as well), which is interesting since the three brands seem to be in competition.

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The OnePlus 5 and the Oppo R11 have a lot in common. © GizChina

Although this is not confirmed, they seem to have divided the market by scale and by geographical area. Anyway, OPPO and OnePlus cooperate at the production level, and we can even see the fruit of their shared work, particularly the with the camera of the OPPO R15 Pro being found in the OnePlus 6.

From communication to the community

Some manufacturers have large communities, built over the years through different strategies, but OnePlus is able to distinguish itself from the others. In just a few years, the young Chinese company has managed to create a very strong fan base. The invitation system at the beginning of its journey allowed it to attract attention, then it focused on transparency and communication with users on its forums.

Even the big bosses of OnePlus talk to fans directly through the forums. Few companies communicate with their users in such a direct and regular way, allowing users to feel listened to (unlike other manufacturers) and providing the manufacturer with a solid fanbase to help boost their image and buy their products.

OnePlus came up with the term “Flagship killer”

When OnePlus launched its first smartphone, the OnePlus One, it was called “Flagship killer”. This term has been widely used by the media and has also spread to other smartphones with the same characteristics: flagship-level quality with a price to kill for. In other words, an incomparable quality/price ratio that draws a crowd.

Many Chinese smartphones were later named “flagship killer” by the press, particularly in the modern high-end popularized by models such as the Honor 7.

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Here is the OnePlus X. © AndroidPIT

Some hiccups in the success story

At the beginning, OnePlus used an invitation system, but in the face of its growing popularity, it opted for a more traditional way to offer its smartphones. Nevertheless, its advertising campaigns have sometimes been problematic. In one of them, it was accused of sexism.

Another campaign contest called “Smash the Past”, also caused problems. The challenge was for users to smash their old smartphone on video to show how much they deserve to get a new OnePlus smartphone for just $1. OnePlus quickly retracted the smashing rule, instead allowing the device to be recycled instead of broken. Nevertheless, the damage was literally already done. 

A contradiction between ideas and actions

OnePlus is very proud (and rightly so) of its community and the unwavering support of its fans. The hardcore fans still aren’t resentful in the face of many disappointments. For example, OnePlus had promised to put Android Nougat on the OnePlus 2 and did not do it. It mounted the OnePlus 5 screen upside-down, leading to an unfortunate jelly scrolling effect. It cheated on benchmark testing (several times) and claims its actions weren’t cheating. It ended up being accused of secretly selling user data, and while there wasn’t any apparent wrongdoing after all, the situation was handled very badly. There has also been an unsettling amount of data collection by the company, which it has since said it would scale back. OnePlus was also hacked, causing credit card payment problems for some users.

Another story we won’t soon forget is the update of the OnePlus 5T to play HD content: you can’t install it yourself, you have to send the smartphone in by mail. You read that right, to update your smartphone, you must part with it for several days. In short, OnePlus can seem ambivalent about its community, at times very attentive, but when certain things go wrong, not so much.

What do you think of OnePlus? Do its products hit the spot for you, or is the company’s troubled past too off-putting?

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