And the circus begins: OnePlus waitlist for reservations, and all the #hype that goes with them

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
And the circus begins: OnePlus waitlist for reservations, and all the #hype that goes with them

Almost exactly one year ago I shared some observations about the geek-hype surrounding the OnePlus One, and the terrible invite system put in place to control manufacturing and inventory demands.

Now, here we are, on the cusp of the unveiling of the highly-anticipated OnePlus 2, Cardboard apps ready, and out of the gate, the invite request portal could not handle the all-too-expected bump in data traffic – just not up to the task of simply compiling email addresses.

I am already on the record about the invite system. I understand why a company like OnePlus would do it, at least at the beginning of production runs. Beyond that though, the invite system serves little use. The company has stated emphatically that the invite system is a necessary mechanism to prevent overstocking and not so much about the hype that accompanies the invites themselves.

This is a parallel model to the “just-in-time” supplier fulfillment used in manufacturing processes around the world, but in this case, it is a “just-in-time inventory” idea. It may prove to be a workable model for extra lean businesses, but it also makes it impossible to keep up with demand, and it puts OnePlus at the mercy of its suppliers and manufacturing partners.

Since OnePlus has stated it plans to have significant extra capacity and inventory available to meet demand, one can hope that will translate to a shorter period of dealing with actual invitations. One can hope.

Trying out the hype


Last year, I did not buy into the hype of the OnePlus One. I had no doubts about the build quality of the device, as OnePlus’ manufacturing partner, Oppo, is well regarded. I also had few doubts about the Cyanogen skin that offered up all manner of customizations for the savvy Android user. Our own review of the OnePlus One proved that to the case.

This time, I thought I would give the hype a spin. I signed up for a forum account, have been participating enough without trolling, and being an honest steward of online interaction. At the time, I had not decided if I was going to chronicle my journey through the process, thinking that in itself, it would be fairly uneventful. I will probably share the experience once an invitation is received and I place an order.

OnePlus did announce a new process for invitations this time around with a promise that things would operate a bit more smoothly, and that invitations would be sent out faster than last year. Early supporters and OnePlus One owners will be prioritized, with easy access to invites. Those that have a profile with OnePlus should be on some sort of track to receive an invitation already.

Hot or not, something isn't right when a customer cannot simply add their email address to a wait list.

Hot or not, something isn't right when a customer cannot simply add their email address to a wait list.

Activity is so hot


This weekend, OnePlus opened up requests for invitations on its website “for those who don’t have time” to work the forums and participate in social media trends. It is nothing more than a portal that accepts email addresses.

As extra or unused invitations become available, those who submit their email address on this “reservation list” should be afforded an opportunity to buy a OnePlus 2. Given the hype started with the OnePlus One, and already brewing with the new device, interest is sure to be substantial, and as it happens, it is.

Indeed, for most of day Saturday, people that wanted to provide their email to get on the reservation list were often confronted with a popup error, “Subscribe failed. The activity is so hot, try later.” Bear in mind, this is not so much a list to actually receive an invitation, it is a list to get a chance to receive an invitation, which in turn gives you the opportunity to order a OnePlus 2.

Seriously, scarcity must be finite


Thankfully, it looked like OnePlus got that portal working properly by early Sunday morning. The company successfully fueled up the hype for the OnePlus 2. The vocal and loyal OnePlus One user base is properly excited to see what the young company has up its sleeve. OnePlus, as a company, has certainly gained wider notoriety thanks to its previous campaigns (good and bad).

The company said it was going to be able to handle increased demand, and when it comes to fulfilling actual orders for the OnePlus 2, I have no reason to doubt that claim. However, the initial impression one might have had from not being able to simply submit their email address is not a great way to instill confidence. The scarcity angles must have a limited shelf life this time around.

If this was a scarcity tactic, then it overplayed that hand by a wide margin. First, the return of the invitation system does enough to stoke those flames, and second, it potentially alienates consumers who want to be a part of the OnePlus story, but cannot spend hours-on-end yapping on forums or waiting on contests. Yes, the purists will claim those folks simply “don’t get it,” but gaining wider appeal ultimately means offering wider access.

If this was simply poor network planning then all you can say about that is, "Really?!" Who didn't see this coming? Everyone touts "hype" and they aren't ready for the...hype.

Either way, bottlenecks like this cast a shadow on the hype, something that OnePlus can do without. While I would love to compare this to Google’s rollout of the Nexus 6, at least that internet giant got thwarted by the demand of those trying to actually buy something, not collect names. If invitations are still the way to go by the holidays, then what good is being served by that point?

Has the circus come to town?


We are sure to see some interesting promotions that will give away some invitations, and I’m sure someone, somewhere, will get offended in some way. That’s cool, some folks like to have fun with marketing pushes like this, but it should exploit talent, not stuff like “smash your phone.” Maybe we’ll get to observe something cool like an Instagram photo contest, or perhaps something witty like a haiku competition. Who knows?

Megan Fox talking on the phone while burning her tongue is

Megan Fox talking on the phone while burning her tongue is "hot" in many dimensions - it qualifies as a circus sideshow, and still makes more sense than a protracted invite process.

One thing is for certain, the games cannot last. OnePlus is selling the OnePlus 2 at some type of mark-up, a premium above the first generation “flagship killer,” prices are said to be “under” $450. However, there are new players about to enter the fray, most notably, the ZTE Axon, whose form factor and price point ($450) hold a lot of appeal.

Then there’s the Nexus 6, currently marked down to a very reasonable $499, and we don’t even know if Cyanogen is going to surprise the market with something new later this year as well. If the OnePlus 2 is really as good as claimed, good enough to be a "2016 flagship killer," then OnePlus needs to be ready to actually make the phone and offer people to actually buy it.

I have every reason to expect that OnePlus will deliver the goods when it announces the OnePlus 2. However, it’s not the announcement that concerns me, it’s the circus that might follow, the three-ring extravaganza of odd promos jammed in a clown car, or the disjointed invitation provisioning swinging like a trapeze artist with no net. I think the market has had enough of sideshows.

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26 Comments

1. Mxyzptlk unregistered

What do people see in that device? It's running Cyanogenmod over Android. Software has a ton of bugs. I'll stick to more established oems.

5. pavsidhu

Posts: 214; Member since: May 20, 2014

There's tons of bugs in other Android skins, even stock Android itself. What makes Cyanogenmod so different?

9. shaineql

Posts: 521; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Never had a camera fail on Samsung and HTC, on Cyanogen camera wont load 1 out of 3. Never had a random reboot on Samsung or HTC , on CM roms i get like 1-2a week. CM , its smooth untill it starts to lag heavy so restart is needed. CM where you are not sure if your Alarm will actualy ring. Dont give me that bulls**t, i used 1+1 for 2 months and it is absolutely the worlds most unreliable device plus i didnt talk about hardware issues(10% of touch display not working, sound being f**ked up etc). So yes ill go for S6 that costs 200e more but at least i know what i get, quality above all and reliable devicd. And even if not , 10/10 would go for 3310 that actualy has a working alarm.

12. hectorveega

Posts: 8; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

I owned a oneplus one and I agree with you.

13. Johnnokia

Posts: 1158; Member since: May 27, 2012

Never had lag or slowness with my OPO as I am currently experiencing this with my S6 and I must restart S6 every day to reduce that lag. The only bad thing with my OPO is the average camera. Anything else is perfect.

15. apple4never

Posts: 1064; Member since: May 08, 2013

yea same, i haven't run into a single problem, maybe i got lucky but idk and idc to be honest lol

11. AnTuTu

Posts: 1595; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

One plus and their whole echo system is just a BS. Even if they offer their latest flagship for free I won't buy it.

20. nahusiv

Posts: 100; Member since: Apr 20, 2015

didnt know you can buy something that is free

25. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Lol if it's free why would you be buying?

24. emotionalextremist

Posts: 13; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

shut up u jerk

2. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

Now that they are big, it's a publicity and hype stunt. Even with the site not being able to handle E-Mail. People start talking "Did you see the OnePlus site is down!?" and "I GOT AN INVITE, FINALLY!!". All of that is just free publicity. It's a smart strategy to save money on marketing, which to my knowledge they don't really do.

4. Awalker

Posts: 1962; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

It's a double-edged sword. I wanted one initially but because of the circus act I decided against it. Since they're repeating the process I'm going to have to pass again. All they need is a preorder process. As the phones are made the orders are fulfilled.

3. pa_follow

Posts: 19; Member since: Jun 21, 2015

Isn't part of their success because they sell in many markets where current flagships are hard to come by?

6. Fonepad

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 11, 2015

Basically, people are queuing up to suscribe so that they can queue up to get a chance to grab a snadragon 810. I am speechless.

7. DRS1977

Posts: 678; Member since: May 27, 2015

OnePlus has a great scam going. Have an invite process and pretend that a bunch of people want the phone to make it "hot". If people are dumb enough to fall for it, why not do it.

8. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

I really want to see this flop and explode in their face (though it's probably never happening). This invite system is stupid especially in modern times where people buy stuff on impulse based on what is available at the time. Cutting that availability from potential customers is a dumb move.

10. larry11

Posts: 2; Member since: Jul 26, 2015

BEWARE of OnePlus products!!! Also their Customer Service is terrible. My OnePlus One performed fine until the OS upgrade. After that the cell phone performance was terrible. Their Customer Service at first wanted a video when the failures happened. This was almost impossible since the failures occurred when I was alone. Then, after being passed to 3-4 Customer Service representatives, I was asked to “tether” the phone to my PC so their people could discover the problem. I was to allow strangers to peruse my PC, that I bank with, just because their Customer Service assured me tat it was secure? I DON'T THINK SO !! I repeatedly asked for RMA number to return the phone for inspection. Then I offered to send the phone at my expense. NOTHING... I'm still waiting. I suggest to anyone considering buying their products to reconsider and buy something more reliable with a better “track record”. At least buy from a company that has been in business for a few years. Don't believe the HYPE !!! Take it from someone who has probably lost their $400.00 investment.

14. Gorilla

Posts: 39; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

Its looking to be a pretty awesome phone, but I think OnePlus is getting kinda cocky when it comes to be called the "2016 flagship killer", it may be software wise, but I highly doubt it will be able to put a major dent hardware wise, anyway, it may be too early too judge, gotta wait and see.

19. sniper1087

Posts: 537; Member since: Dec 31, 2011

when phones like the ZTE Axon and Zenfone 2 are on the market with great specs, I don't care much about the Oneplus 2, plus a couple of flagships are going to be released in the next couple of months so might as well wait and see what they have to offer.

26. Gorilla

Posts: 39; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

I absolutely agree. The ZTE Axon looks like a beautiful phone with excellent specs. OnePlus thinks its a one of kind company which makes them feel overconfident. Big Mistake OnePlus, you are gonna be destroyed in 2016, especially if you keep the "invite system" going.

16. NorthernViking

Posts: 40; Member since: Mar 25, 2015

I don't bother with OnePlus phones. They make their products too hard to get, like they think they make their products exclusive. Idiocy.

17. BaffledTruffle

Posts: 523; Member since: Dec 07, 2013

I really want this system f*ck up OnePlus. It's getting old, and frustrating for paying customers. I think everyone's better off with more expensive flagships with better after sales support.

18. JMartin22

Posts: 2334; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

Who wants low quality garbage? Real power users or people more savvy about high-end mobile products are going to invest in something established, genuine, reliable and proven. Maybe this phone is a budget conscious gift you give an older parental guardian or adolescent that has earned it and needs a knock off off-contract phone until they get older to sponsor their own decision-making.

21. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Yes indeed. Wait till they put something in there besides the SD810. Maybe next year.

22. Huck33

Posts: 20; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

last year i started very early to follow One+ company. I stopped after few month. they were not able to provide devices but they communicated that you can get one... BS Ok the phone had low price.... but it was not possibel to buy one. this year they have too much competitors...

23. HTCOE

Posts: 650; Member since: Nov 20, 2011

The invite system is an extrinsic approach to adopters & users. Which will not work long term for them.

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