The saying goes that “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” and it almost seems that the once-proud flagship killer was heading in that direction. OnePlus upset the delicate balance of the old smartphone market but it couldn’t stop the bigger powers of the economy from eventually pushing its prices up. Now OnePlus is reportedly going back to its roots and once again offer cheaper phones but its strategy might not be as straightforward as it sounds.
The first OnePlus was definitely a game-changer and its offer of flagship specs at almost half the price of main brands quickly earned it loyal fans. Those fans, however, may have become disillusioned for the past two or so years as the company started to push prices higher and higher in the name of more and more features.
In an interview with Fast Company, CEO Pete Lau discloses that the company is looking into making affordable phones again. This could be timed with an upcoming OnePlus Z launch that could set the tone for its future phones. Curiously, Lau doesn’t mention OnePlus would stop making expensive high-end phones, only that it would make cheaper phones something more regular rather than a seasonal thing.
OnePlus’ change of heart, however, might not simply be due to consumer demand, especially since even those expensive OnePlus phones are still selling well. Instead, its motivation may lie in its ambitions to create an ecosystem that includes smartphones. Yes, like many smartphone OEMs that have grown big, OnePlus is looking into making more smart devices especially for smart homes.
It has already started that with its first smart TV in India but it will take a lot more than that to create an ecosystem. It’s going to be a risky venture, considering how bigger companies like Samsung and LG have tried and haven’t exactly succeeded. Only Apple so far has cornered such an ecosystem exactly because it controls all parts of it. OnePlus doesn’t have that advantage but focusing on affordability could very well be its ace.