OnePlus set forth its philosophy from the start, seeming to emerge ready-made for an overlooked niche. The manufacturer, in typical startup fashion, built big dreams. What was unusual was that it seemed capable of fulfilling them, and doing it with flare. Here's why OnePlus is the coolest smartphone maker there is.
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Build it and they will come
When Pete Lau left Oppo, it was surprising, coming off the back of a string of successes. But when he founded OnePlus with fellow former Oppo employee Carl Pei all became clear. The duo had the vision to sell phones through e-commerce, forgoing the traditional marketing routes. Founding OnePlus in 2013, they quickly built their hyperbole machine, which produced the mantra "never settle" and images of the dream smartphone, which married high-end hardware with high-end design, all while keeping things at an affordable retail price.
It's impossible to talk about OnePlus without talking about its invite system
The company quickly proved at least one thing: it was very adept at marketing. OnePlus held fun, slightly ridiculous competitions, produced tounge-in-cheek accessories and, as is well known, introduced its invite system.
An absurdly perfect blend
It's impossible to talk about OnePlus without talking about its invite system. Initially there to ensure that demand did not swell beyond the burgeoning company's ability to supply, the outward, no-doubt intentional, result was that the company's smartphones quickly attained an allure far beyond their reality. Denied the chance of having one, everyone wanted one.
Through a deliberate exploitation of the slightly absurd, OnePlus offers something that you just don't see on any other smartphones
But that's not to say that OnePlus phones offer a mundane reality. The OnePlus X, in particular, is a stunning device, in my opinion, the best looking smartphone since the iPhone 4. The only corners cut were those finely rounded ones on the body of the device itself.
Through a deliberate exploitation of the slightly absurd, OnePlus offers something that you just don't see on any other smartphones, things like fire-baked ceramic back plates and anodized metal frames etched with microcuts. Essentially, these things are unnecessary, but there's no denying how good they sound, and, most importantly, they look incredible. Ultimately, they also provide OnePlus an edgy advantage over its competitors.
Set phasers to mainstream
OnePlus comes from a background of deliberate exclusivity and geek appeal. When the OnePlus One was announced, it generated an Android underground hum that does not come along often. If Nexus devices are lightsabers, the OnePlus One was a limited-edition rebel alliance espresso machine, once brushed by the gloved hand of the late Darth Vader.
Now, the OnePlus 3 is beginning to take shape on the horizon, and the company has come a long way from being that six-month-old startup that launched the OnePlus One. Its invite system has been dissolving, it signed a $300,000 dollar deal with Netflix to appear in House of Cards, and it's capable of meeting much higher numbers of orders.
With a mainstream breakthrough balanced on its new flagship, the question is, can OnePlus keep it's cool?