For the past year, the OnePlus One smartphone has had an unusual distinction: You couldn’t buy one without an invitation. Now, OnePlus is making the handset available to anybody and everybody.
After a year of limited availability via invitation and occasional flash and limited online sales, the 16GB Silk White ($299) and 64GB Sandstone Black ($349) OnePlus One handsets are now available for sale to the masses. OnePlus calls its model a $299 phone with the features and design of a $650 phone.
Indeed, the specs of the OnePlus One are reminiscent of Samsung's Galaxy S5. The One comes with a 5.5-inch screen, 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB RAM, 16/64GB storage, 3,100mAh battery.
"In our first big celebration of the One's successful year, we are opening up sales globally for everyone," OnePlus's Bradon Harwood wrote in a blog post. "Exactly one year ago this Thursday, April 23rd, we announced the OnePlus One to the world. Since then, we’ve been travelling down an exciting road; one with a few bumps, yes, but also one that has ultimately led to amazing things."
Exclusivity Is Key
OnePlus has gotten the lion’s share of its attention by how tricky it can be to get their products. When we reached Atlanta-based tech analyst Jeff Kagan, he said the exclusivity of the phone certainly helped to make it popular.
"However, the popularity index of any device in the wireless industry is very short," says Kagan. "That means even the hottest device will still cool down after six months to year. The reason [for that is that] customers will simply wait for the next best device, which is always right around the corner."
New One Will Also Be Invite-Only
There’s speculation that the phones are being made more easily available as a way to clear out stock of the One before the OnePlus 2 arrives later this year. That new model will be sold via invitation only at first. According to reports, the OnePlus 2 will be made from higher-quality materials and cost a little more than its $299 predecessor. A launch date has not been announced.
"The OnePlus 2 will bring the challenges that come along with a brand new product, and initially, our invite system will help us to manage that risk. It also helps us to be sure that every OnePlus 2 user gets the amazing experience that they deserve," wrote Harwood.
"At this point [the One] will probably start to fade into the crowd," says Kagan.
In the meantime, customers who place an order in the first 24 hours of the phones’ availability will receive a 75 percent discount on OnePlus flip covers and screen protectors. Bamboo StyleSwap covers are also available, but in a limited supply. The promotion is being offered in the United States, Canada, the European Union, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.