OnePlus, a Chinese startup company spearheaded by co-founder Carl Pei, has been doing things differently from day one. First, the OnePlus One is a Cyanogen smartphone that runs on OnePlus hardware – the current version is CyanogenMod 11, which is based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat. Secondly, they announced that the sale of the device would be through an invitation system where you had to receive an invite from the site or another user. Next is the fact that they only had a $300 advertising budget – yes, you ready that correctly and I did not miss any zeros. Finally, they are selling the OnePlus One for $300 for the base model and $350 for the 64GB option for a higher end device with features that would normally go for $650 – and the company is barely making any money selling them so cheaply.
Carl Pei said, “We set some goals for this year. Thirty thousand was a realistic goal, 50,000 was a pretty good goal and 100,000 was a stretch goal. We now aim to ship a million devices this year, and we’ve already surpassed half a million.” The real problem is that OnePlus does not really know how to predict their sales and thusly how many to manufacturer. With profit so low, they cannot afford to over-manufacturer and be stuck with a large inventory. With most phones, there is a period after the initial launch where sales peak and then drop off, but not so for the OnePlus One…because of the value it offers, the public interest seems to be growing and sales are actually increasing.
Unlike other pure Chinese phone manufacturers, like Xiaomi and Meizu, have their own app and theme stores as part of their income and profits each year…supplementing the lower profits on the actual devices. OnePlus is manufactured in China, but with its Cyanogen and Android 4.4.4 KitKat background with the Google Play Store getting most of the app profits. Pei says, “Maybe we can create services which operate within the Google framework. The selling of themes, we have on our current phone but it’s operated via Cyanogen. Since we launched the One, their sales have skyrocketed.” He also points out that since they sell strictly online, they have a lot less overhead to deal with, helping them to pass the value on to their customers.
The future looks bright for OnePlus as there is still much demand for their One model, which will continue to be sold next year. It will be joined by the OnePlus Two – made from higher-quality materials and will cost a little more. Pei says they will turn to the company’s forums to get input from their users about what they want in the next model – a forum that has 400,000 members – and yes, I got the zeros correct here, as well. Hopefully, OnePlus will be able to provide BOTH devices in a timely manner to keep both sales and profits up.
Please hook up with us on our Google+ Page and let us know what you think about your OnePlus One and if you are looking forward to the OnePlus Two…as always, we would love to hear from you.