OnePlus unveils latest ‘flagship killer’ smartphone

Chinese device maker OnePlus has launched the latest version of its smartphone that is positioned as having similar specs to other flagship smartphones, but at a fraction of the price.

The OnePlus 2 is the successor to last year’s OnePlus 1, appropriately enough, and has received a surprising amount of global hype for a young, little known Chinese handset brand. Shenzhen has no shortage of cut-price phone manufacturers, but OnePlus seems to have done a better job than most of capturing the international imagination.

According to the internet the company was founded in late 2013 by Pete Lau, a former exec at Chinese smartphone company Oppo, with some backing from his former employer. The OnePlus 1 seems to have been targeted primarily at the Indian market, which is increasingly looked to for smartphone growth now that China has peaked.

The premise is simple: premium specs at a knock down price. The One Plus 2 features a 5.5-inch 1920×1080 display, a Snapdragon 810 SoC, 64GB storage, a 13MP camera with OIS, fingerprint reader and an OS derived from the Cyanogen Android mod called Oxygen. All this for just $389, which is around half what you’d expect to pay for a Samsung Galaxy S6, let alone an Apple iPhone 6.

“From day one, we’ve prioritized our product and our community above all else – we carefully listened to our users’ feedback and incorporated suggestions in building the OnePlus 2,” said Lau. “We chose premium materials, the highest performing components and forward thinking technology to make this an unparalleled user experience.”

That’s about it really, apart from the fact that you can’t buy the OnePlus 2 in shops, and even getting one from the company itself requires an invite that you have to request via the website. While there is a degree of viral marketing gimmickry in this, reminiscent of techniques that have worked so well for Xiaomi, this is also a way of minimising inventory risk, so seems quite sensible. This launch seems considerably more extensive than the previous one and it will be interesting to see if they publish any sales numbers.

Incidentally Motorola has also launched a few new devices aimed at the ‘affordable premium’ segment too.

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