Lengthy-time Android followers will most likely bear in mind the heyday of OnePlus. Again in 2014, the corporate launched what it referred to as the “flagship killer,” undercutting rivals whereas providing a strong system. Certain, the OnePlus One had notable faults, however it was a enjoyable telephone to personal — and I cherished the tough sandstone again.
However beginning with the OnePlus 7 sequence, we have seen the Chinese language telephone maker broaden past its roots. Whereas the OnePlus 5 and 6 sequence have been wonderful telephones, they nonetheless had loads of compromises to maintain the value low. With the OnePlus 7 Professional, OnePlus uncorked the keg and went ham.
Whereas imperfect, the OnePlus 7 Professional had a number of issues going for it. The T sequence model later that yr helped cement that. Then got here the OnePlus 8 Professional final yr and we might lastly suggest a OnePlus telephone with little to no caveats. That is earlier than we get to the OnePlus 9 Professional from this yr, which is throughout among the best Android telephones ever made, going toe-to-toe with the Galaxy S21 Extremely.
If the telephones are so nice, what’s the issue then? Let’s take a step again and take a look at what OnePlus has grow to be within the final three years.
OnePlus then and now
In 2020 alone, OnePlus launched six telephones: the OnePlus 8, OnePlus 8 Professional, OnePlus 8T, Nord, Nord N10 5G, and Nord N100. We by no means noticed the unique Nord within the US, which seemed like a return to OnePlus’ roots. I am nonetheless bummed about that.
The place earlier than there have been two telephones a yr from OnePlus, now there have been six (solely 5 of which have been out there within the US) — with the common OnePlus 8 being lackluster at finest. The Nord household was the corporate’s try at making a budget-friendly line, utilizing eerily acquainted designs paying homage to its sister firm Oppo.
And 7 months into 2021, we’ve the OnePlus 9R (India solely), OnePlus 9, OnePlus 9 Professional, Nord CE, and Nord N200 5G, with the upcoming Nord 2 and OnePlus 9T certain to comply with. That is a downright mess, with OnePlus seemingly chasing its dream of changing into the following Samsung (which has its personal issues with a messy system portfolio).
OnePlus cancelation and controversy
Coming again to the OnePlus 9 Professional, there was imagined to be a base 128GB/8GB mannequin that may value $969. This meant OnePlus might say that its new high-end telephone technically value lower than $1,000.
However that mannequin by no means materialized and now the corporate confirmed to Android Police (opens in new tab) that the bottom OnePlus 9 Professional is not coming to the US. OnePlus blames provide constraints, however such issues ought to have offered themselves properly earlier than the OnePlus 9 Professional was introduced. It has been greater than three months for the reason that announcement.
OnePlus is not any stranger to controversy, having simply been caught throttling apps within the identify of battery life. In previous years, it carried out a sequence of promoting blunders. Granted, the corporate has matured rather a lot since then, however these issues are exhausting to overlook.
Not less than, from all appearances, OnePlus continues to take heed to its group to a level, one thing the opposite large gamers cannot declare. However as OnePlus places out an increasing number of telephones, I anticipate the person expertise to ultimately undergo, even on the top-of-the-line mannequin — the Chinese language producer tends to let older telephones fall behind, extra so than say Samsung.
The chaotic nature of OnePlus
All informed, the corporate appears to be in a multitude. One among OnePlus’ founders, Carl Pei, left not too way back. This shocked everybody, as a result of once I met him a couple of years in the past, he appeared actually captivated with seeing OnePlus succeed. To see him out of the blue depart (at the least, from our perspective) was stunning. That is to not say that OnePlus’ new course was the direct reason for Pei’s departure, however it makes you marvel.
OnePlus additionally moved away from what followers cherished about its tackle Android, OxygenOS. It adopted a glance extra akin to Samsung’s One UI, one thing followers weren’t too eager on. Whereas I do not thoughts OxygenOS 11, it was a bit odd to see the inventory Android really feel, which OnePlus repeatedly claimed satisfaction in, slowly fade.
OnePlus has at all times had a component of chaos to it, however from the place I am sitting, the corporate appears to have misplaced its means. Whether or not it is the convoluted product portfolio or the canceled base OnePlus 9 Professional US launch or the app throttling, it is exhausting to acknowledge the corporate that, for thus lengthy, was one among two default suggestions for hardcore Android followers.
We have no perception on what OnePlus is doing, so we’ll simply have to sit down again and watch the seeming tumult to see what emerges. However the OnePlus we knew and cherished even simply three years in the past is gone, and I am unsure it is ever coming again.