OnePlus has been famous for two things. High end specs at low costs, and their infamous invite system. In order to get your hands on a OnePlus device, you have to go through this system in order to be invited to actually spend your money on the device. Many see it as a downside, and I tend to agree. Why does it exist? “To manage risk” OnePlus says. As a new company with somewhat limited resources, this made total sense, a year ago. With the launch of the OnePlus One, the invite system was a smart idea, more or less. It kept demand and hype for the phone high while not stressing what the company was capable of. However, now that the OnePlus Two is here, why does this system still exist?
The OnePlus One sold a staggering number of phones. When you think of a small Chinese company selling unlocked phones outside of US carriers and with minimal advertising, you don’t think about them selling 1.5 million phones. It’s truly impressive just how many phones were sold and I congratulate the company for it. That’s a massive accomplishment no matter how you look at it. However, my question leading up to the launch of the OnePlus Two was, will it have an invite system, and why? Obviously we’ve now learned that the Two does have an invite system, but we haven’t learned why. But here’s the thing, there’s isn’t really a reason, at least not one I can accept.
During their Virtual Reality launch event of the OnePlus Two, the company mentioned that the new invite system would have more invites available making them far easier to obtain. Why? The reason given in that event was that the company knew they could handle the extra load. However, if they can handle the extra load, why not just put the phone up for a standard pre-order without giving customers a headache? Well, OnePlus says that they still have the invite system for the same reason as last year, “to manage risk”. And that’s where I really have a problem.
What’s the risk? Last year, OnePlus went in blind with the One. They had no idea if the phone would be a success or not. With the Two, it’s an entirely different story. The company already knows that they have a loyal fanbase, and they have a precedent to follow. So what’s the risk in manufacturing, let’s say 100,000 units to start. You know for a fact you’re going to sell them. Worried about defects? Fine, that’s completely understandable, so cut the first couple orders down until things are running smoothly. Roll pre-orders out in waves, just like everyone else does.
Look, I get it OnePlus, you’re a small company still learning the ropes, but considering the facts, you have no reason to still have an invite system. It’s a pain in the butt and there’s no reason to put your customers through that. Just put the phone up for pre-order and sell in waves. That’s far less frustrating than possibly waiting months for an invite like many customers did last year. Oh, and to add salt to the wound, now we know for a fact the OnePlus Two will be a pretty big success. After just a few days of being open, the queue for invites to buy the Two has already surpassed 1,000,000 users. That’s 1 Million people who want to buy this phone.