It is a little more than six years since Oneplus, founded by entrepreneurs Carl Pei and Pete Lau, released their first phone. The Android market was quickly shaken up with Oneplus One, a price-squeezed smartphone that did not compromise on either quality or performance. In addition, only special guests were given the chance to buy a copy, and the “VIP hype” certainly contributed to the initial success.
Then followed a half-decade of new launches, constantly with attractive pricing versus performance advances as the main buying argument. Most often, they have also managed to stay below the competitors regarding the price, even though the gap has fluctuated recently. Now Oneplus is a highly established premium manufacturer, with a secure launch schedule for its flagship models.
But now it’s definitely starting to move. Like several other large mobile phone manufacturers, they have opened their eyes to the middle segment, and with the summer Oneplus Nord was the company’s new philosophy a fact: You no longer need an expensive flagship mobile to get a premium experience.
For those consumers who do not want to spend around ten thousand on the fattest performance monsters, the ever-improving mid-range mobiles come as a gift from above. The new 5g technology finds its way into more modest circuits and paves the way for an adoption on a wider front.
And of course, Oneplus does not want to remain on the platform. The company is now expanding the Nord series with the new Nord N10 5G intermediate mobile for SEK 3,500 and the Nord N100 for SEK 2,000. Then we are suddenly down in the budget class. Tuomas Lampén, Strategy Manager for Oneplus Europe Operations, explains why the timing is right.
– There are several reasons. Firstly, our users, with whom we have a close dialogue, have requested cheaper phones. And Oneplus always starts the development of new devices with the user in focus. But at the same time, the conditions have also improved. Qualcomm has improved the performance of its mid-range circuits and also made them 5g compatible. It has provided better conditions in the market.
But lower price tags do not necessarily go hand in hand with lower expectations, says Tuomas Lampén.
– In the middle segment, there are still high demands on battery life, camera quality and that the phones are fast to use. There must be enough memory and storage. Now we feel that the potential is there to manufacture a really good intermediate mobile.
You make a big deal out of offering a 5g mobile for a lower price. Why do users really need a 5g-compatible smartphone 2020?
– I think it’s a question of future security. Once the technology reaches its potential, consumers want to be able to jump in quickly. Why choose old technology when you buy a new phone today? At present, we mainly see the higher speeds as the biggest gain for you as a customer, says Tuomas Lampén.
Now that mid-range mobiles have become so good, it is more relevant for users to consider how much performance and groundbreaking functionality they actually need. Oneplus has traditionally attracted a young, technology-interested crowd that will continue to be most interested in the flagships, but now Tuomas Lampén believes that the company has a golden chance to broaden its target group.
– It will be important for us to also attract more price-conscious users, especially in a year like this when a global pandemic puts its economic stamp on many people’s lifestyles. Right now, we actually see that it is the middle segment that is growing the most in the European mobile market.
If the intermediate mobiles have now become so good – what does that say about the future of the expensive flagship mobiles?
– They will continue to be relevant for Oneplus. It is the platform where we launch new innovations, dare to experiment and make the biggest improvements. We do not have to compromise in the same way. In addition, those mobiles generate more interest. If we look at how intense mobile use is today, it goes without saying that there will always be users who are content with just the very best.