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Confusing Company of the Year: OnePlus


News by admin on Friday January 02, 2015.

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OnePlus One
OnePlus One

Sure, you won't see this category in too many assessments of 2014, but we felt that OnePlus deserved a special category all for itself, because what a first full year as a business it has been. Announcing itself in 2013 with its Never Settle slogan, the company was bold before it even created the simply fantastic OnePlus One smartphone.

The flagship killer costs $300 and is a triumph of design, specs, and performance... it is one of the best devices on the market, period. However, behind the handset is a company that does not carry much experience and OnePlus has fumbled its way through 2014 with some episodes hilarious, others in poor taste, and others outright confusing.

Accusations of sexism in a promotion where OnePlus challenged female users to send photos to their forum gave way to other dodgy promotions. An invite system that was meant to make getting the limited phone easier is frustrating and actually limits the potential of the device, and a couple of fumbles in the pre-order system are just the tip of the iceberg. Oh yes, the OnePlus One has recently been banned and unbanned in India too... never a dull day we suppose.

It would all make OnePlus a forgettable company and one not to get into bed with if it wasn't for that amazing smartphone. And, the company is pretty honest in nailing itself when something goes wrong, so we like that too.

A look back on what we've written about OnePlus:

The OnePlus One is a "Flagship Killer" that can go spec-for-spec with any handset. It has a 5.5-inch IPS display with a 1080p HD resolution and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. With a 2.5GHZ quad-core processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon 801) and 3GB of RAM, it's all but guaranteed to have blistering speed. The 3,100 mAh battery ensures long battery life, the 13-megapixel Sony Exmor sensor takes good photos and records 4K video, and the 5-megapixel front camera takes large selfies. Stereo speakers are at the bottom of the device and promise loud sound.

More impressive than any of these features is the fact that OnePlus will sell the device for only $299 in the US (269 euros in Europe). Upgrading the storage from 16GB to 64GB will increase the cost to $349 or 299 euros. The One has all the markings of a flagship device except price, which is shocking considering that it's an upstart company relying on Oppo to manufacture the device. Even with Google and handset partners cutting corners and taking less money for the Nexus series, those devices still cost $50 more than a One.

OnePlus is making the price an even greater surprise when factoring in the exterior of the device. The One is made of a magnesium frame but has a replaceable back plate made of cashew that has been texturized to be incredibly smooth like silk. The back can also be replaced with bamboo or wood treatments, Kevlar, and denim.

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The OnePlus One had until this week been available only via contests and invites to purchase, but there were issues with manufacturing, and one unlucky contest winner was shipped an empty box. The phone was then delayed because of a potential security risk in the customized CyanogenMod software. Now a more embarrassing blunder has added an additional two weeks to the waiting period. .

OnePlus changed the CE logo font on the back of the One. The European Union has set guidelines for displaying device certification, and Oppo apparently didn't realize that changing the font of the certification to match its own branding was a violation of those standards. A spokesperson for the company confirmed the mistake to an Irish blog and stated that the back of the device would be redesigned and then reshipped within 2 weeks.

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The company tasked the female population of its official forum to post a photo of themselves next to the OnePlus logo for the chance to win an invite to buy the phone. That's right, the company was not even giving a phone away, instead asking women to parade themselves to get an invite to buy the admittedly sought after OnePlus One flagship. Once a female of the species had posted an image, the fellow forum goers could then vote on that pic, the top 50 voted images getting an invite.

Not that we are going to come over all politically correct and we will not be feigning outrage either, but this is some pretty sloppy stuff from OnePlus. The company had the decency to ask the "lovely ladies" not to post any images of themselves naked, but lacked the common sense to not objectify those ladies in the first place.

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The release of the OnePlus grows ever more farcical today as the company confirmed that it is cancelling its StyleSwap covers entirely. These covers were the interchangeable cases that OnePlus had crafted to adorn the One flagship, available in a number of high end and unique materials (wood anyone?). However, it looks like back to the silicon shell or leather case for all you OnePlus customers because the StyleSwap is no more.

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The device was supposed to be available for pre-order in a unique system where the company only builds the device once the pre-order has been placed. This allowed the company to keep inventory and ultimately costs low. The demand for the OnePlus One is fairly huge, so much so in fact that the pre-order system crashed, with people not knowing whether their order had been placed or not.

The company apologized via a blog post today and explained the issue. It turns out it was just a good old fashioned case of servers not being able to keep up with demand, despite the company doubling capacity ahead of the launch. OnePlus said it is "exceptionally sorry" for the "unacceptable experience". The company revealed it will be trying another pre-order window on November 17th and used the blogpost to explain things further.

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The OnePlus, Cyanogen, and Micromax saga has reached a conclusion that spells bad news for anyone after a OnePlus One smartphone in India. The handset has been on sale 15 days in the country, has been the subject of industry squabbling and has now by the looks of it been banned from sale in India.

 
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