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OnePlus phone fanbois flock for a shiny phondle
It's not just Apple crazies who'll queue around the block (and then some) for a glimpse of a new gadget
At one point you needed to win a lottery to get a OnePlus phone
What OnePlus is good at is creating scarcity and stoking demand. In early 2014 it announced its first device, a CyanogenMod Android phone that created great interest among enthusiasts, because of its high specs and low price. It encouraged people to smash up their current models. OnePlus introduced a lottery system to get the phones. But it couldn't fulfil the demand, and weeks turned into months without the demand being met. (Only recently have you been able to buy one without a hard-to-find invitation).
But fanbois don't care. You can feel the intense excitement from these close-up photos.
Some brought games to pass the time. Others vaped.
Others simply marked their territory.
Given that the meeting room would feel full with 30 people in it, I wondered if OnePlus had underestimated demand, not for the first time.
Why the scarcity? It was so OnePlus would not be left with surplus inventory. A surge of 100,000 might cripple the company, one staffer told me. This looked like it could be a surge to me.
OnePlus told me it has received a meeeeellion orders for the OnePlus Two. The question is, can it even begin to fulfill it? It has no footprint outside China, with global logistics companies doing the fulfillment and returns. You have to go to them.
We reviewed it here and UK press got a chance to see it. I thought it had the design qualities of last year's, but was a bit sturdier and more expensive looking. The stylish customisations of Cyanogen Mod are gone though, it's pretty much stock Android. You can't remove the Google Search bar, unless you install a new launcher, which is very stock. Cyanogen Mod licensees were stabbed in the back by the company set up to market it, shortly after it received an investment from Google-friendly VC fund Andreessen Horowitz. A funny business, that.
Anyway, none of that seemed to deter the fans. The 16GB model will cost £239 and the 64GB model (neither is expandable) £289. You'll just have trouble finding one. We had a paw elsewhere, which you can read here. ®
* Technically, OnePlus is a "startup." But it's an unusual one. Company documentation revealed that its only institutional shareholder is Chinese phone vendor Oppo Electronics, from which it was spawned: both founders were executives at Oppo. Oppo itself is owned by BBK Electronics, which including Oppo had 17,000 employees in 2012.