Interview with the Director of OnePlus Global on OnePlus One's global availability, CyanogenMod implementation, and more
Is there such thing as a perfect smartphone? Probably not, or at least not at this time. A small, yet ambitious company, however, strongly believes that it can build one. The company in question is OnePlus – a tech startup established in late 2013 by former Oppo executive Pete Lau.
As of this writing, OnePlus is still keeping the specs and design of the OnePlus One, its "perfect smartphone", under wraps. But we're being promised a phone that will rival the industrial design of Apple's iPhone and pack the best hardware components that are available, all the while retailing for under $400 unlocked. And you don't have to be a smartphone fanatic to get at least a bit excited about OnePlus's upcoming phone, especially now that you've read what we're told to expect.
Eager to know more about the OnePlus One smartphone and about the company's strategy in general, we interviewed Carl Pei, Director of OnePlus Global. Read on to learn what he had to share with us.
1. Despite the fact that OnePlus is now its own entity, many are still wondering whether any ties with Oppo still exist. Are you going to be partners going forward?
Pei: OnePlus has some overlap with OPPO in terms of early stage investors, but is a completely separate company. OnePlus is also being pursued by venture capital funds and internet companies, and may consider accepting more capital if we can see strategic synergy. As long as both sides can benefit, we have no issues partnering with OPPO or anyone else going forward.
2. What is OnePlus's priority when it comes to smartphones? Premium quality, lowest price, or will it try to strike a good balance between both?
Pei: We will never compete on price. We believe we can disrupt the status quo by creating a product with top of the line design, build quality, software, and specs. Due to how our business model is set up, we will be able to deliver this package at a reasonable price.
3. You've said that the OnePlus One will rival the iPhone in the design department, and also carry an impressive specs sheet. But, to a large extent, this combination has been attempted before, and is not necessarily successful. Why is the OnePlus One going to be the exception to the rule?
Pei: Running a business is hard. Every day, you are faced with difficult challenges, pressures and temptations. Your philosophy will dictate what’s the most important to you, and whether you give in or stick to your ideals. How you make these choices determine whether or not your product will be good enough to be successful. Our philosophy is to “Never Settle,” and is why OnePlus One is going to be the exception to the rule.
4. Given that you'll be partnering with CyanogenMod Inc. for the OnePlus One, is it fair to assume that you're going after the power users out there? Or will the software be somewhat more simplified in order to be more appropriate for the mainstream audience?
Pei: As we have seen by the recent changes in the tech industry, the future is one where hardware and software will go hand in hand. We’re working very closely with Cyanogen Inc, who are working on impressive new things that will debut on the OnePlus One. Being a new company, it is always wise to target early adopters. However, since the operating system is installed by default, rather than via various rooting and flashing methods, it won’t be difficult for a mainstream audience to enjoy. The product definitely has mass appeal.
5. An overarching issue with China-based manufacturers is that international availability, including servicing, is just too much of a hassle. Is OnePlus going to be the exception to this rule? How are you going to handle it?
Pei: Our company consists of people from all over the world, we see ourselves as a global company, and our products will launch internationally. We have companies taking us to the moon and making self-driving cars. Logistics is not rocket science.