As OnePlus prepares to launch its second flagship smartphone, the China-based mobile phone manufacturer has revealed how consumers will be able to procure one of the handsets when they launch on July 27.
As with the OnePlus One, the OnePlus 2 will follow an invite-based system, which the company claims is so that it can better manage supply-and-demand and ensure it isn’t left with excess inventory. But OnePlus promises things will be far more streamlined this time around.
To recap, OnePlus emerged as one of the hottest smartphones last year for the One, a premium-spec low-price Android device costing $299/$349 (16GB/64GB). While it generally got rave reviews, it wasn’t always easy to acquire — users could only buy one if they had an invite. Invites were given out through competitions and social media promotions, while those who had already bought a OnePlus One were allocated invites to give to friends.
However, the company received an increasing amount of criticism for its system, which frustrated would-be customers and gave no easy route to getting hold of one of the devices. The invite system was removed in stages, and it finally came down altogether back in April — presumably so the company could get rid of excess stock ahead of the upcoming OnePlus 2 launch.
Hopes that OnePlus would ditch its invite system for the OnePlus 2 were dashed a while back when the company revealed it would still be in place, though details of how it would work this time around have remained unclear.
We now know, however, that OnePlus is increasing its launch inventory by “30 – 50” times, according to the company, which means more invites will be available.
Moreover, there will be a reservation list in place, meaning all you have to do is submit your email address and wait. This is definitely a good move by OnePlus, as it means customers will no longer have to monitor the OnePlus Twitter feed, Facebook Page, or forum for details on how to obtain an invite from any new batch that are released. Additionally, the company says that those who buy a OnePlus 2 will receive sharable invites much more quickly this time around.
Interestingly, while most invites will remain digital, OnePlus will be making some available in physical format for special scenarios, though it doesn’t detail what these will be.
While the invite system has clearly frustrated consumers in the past, with some accusing OnePlus of simply attempting to create hype, the company’s argument that it was intended to manage inventory and reduce risk does stack up.
“More hardware companies have died from having too much inventory than from having too few sales,” explained cofounder Carl Pei. “We’re in this for the long run, and we firmly believe that the long-term health of our business is far more important than growth.”
Earlier this year, Russia-based smartphone maker Yota opened up preorders for the YotaPhone 2 on Indiegogo. It was a curious move for an established company, given Indiegogo is traditionally used by individuals or emerging startups with little cash at their disposal. However, crowdfunding campaigns are increasingly being used by bigger companies to establish demand for a product — this helps reduce their financial risk before a product goes to market.
While OnePlus is continuing its invite system for the aforementioned reasons, this time around it’s anticipating a greater demand for the product, so hopefully will be better prepared to deal with an influx of orders.
Meanwhile, if you want to watch the OnePlus 2 launch event on July 27, the company is broadcasting in virtual reality, and you can order a OnePlus Cardboard VR headset for the occasion.