After more than a year, OnePlus has finally made its One smartphone available to buy by anyone, regardless of whether they have an invite.
The China-based smartphone manufacturer sent out invites last week for an event on April 20, and speculation mounted that this could be the big unveil for its follow-up phone — the OnePlus 2 — or a stripped down “lite” version of its existing flagship. However, the big news to emerge is that the One, the company’s only device to date, is now freely available to buy anytime.
OnePlus has made headlines over the past year or so for the One, a premium-spec low-price Android device. Costing $299/$349 (16GB/64GB), it promised good things but it hasn’t been easy to acquire, with OnePlus adopting an invite-only system. The company gave out invites through special promotions, and those who purchased a handset could then give out invites to their friends, and so on.
In February this year, OnePlus revealed it would open sales for a 24-hour period each week — on Tuesdays — but retain its invite-only system for the remainder of the week. And in the months since then, the company has launched its own Android Lollipop-based ROM called OxygenOS, representing part of its longer-term plan to move away from CyanogenMod.
Back in March, the OnePlus One was made available for sale across the whole of the European Union, taking its total launch markets to more than 30, though would-be buyers in the new territories were still required to make their purchase on Tuesdays or use an invite.
The official line from OnePlus has hitherto been that invites help them control supply and manage risks associated with its “razor-thin margins,” but some have argued that it has been used to create hype and boost word-of-mouth — something it has undoubtedly achieved, whether intentional or not. Indeed, when the OnePlus 2 launches later this year, OnePlus has confirmed it will initially be through its invite-based system, which perhaps isn’t all that surprising.