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The latest OnePlus leaks make me worried

OnePlus is getting ready two new phones from the North brand in the US market, according to leaks from Android Central in the last month, including what may be its first beginner phone. If the information regarding ~ $ 200 “Clover” and under $ 400 “Billie” is true (and they probably are), then OnePlus Power have a problem on their hands. While the company was once known for its massively disruptive influence in the flagship space, it is now comfortable in the market as it was once upset. And its usual strategies do not work here.

Yours with OnePlus One and really crazy values ​​are over. While OnePlus is still positioning itself as a small but scary start, it̵

7;s really just an attempt to justify its social media heavy drop-feeding marketing method – a point of frustration for many, but apparently successful and obviously a more frugal compared to traditional marketing and advertising.

Most companies do not make “pop-up” stores – virtual or otherwise.

While prices have risen over phone generations, one thing is still true: OnePlus still makes good phones a beautiful good price. They may not be the almost incredible deals they once were, but the company’s phones also compromise a little less when it comes to details like an IP rating or camera, and they compare very positive to other similarly specified flagships. The new Nord, although unfortunately not available in the US, is also a pretty great phone. I’ve been using one on and off for the past month or so, and I’m very impressed with it – and very, very jealous that we can ‘t buy one here in the US.

But OnePlus flagships are pretty easy to market and sell. Here in the US, OnePlus has been able to pick up the operator partnerships needed to really succeed, and it has secured some brand recognition among the Android flagship space and (frankly quite small) unlocked buying audience. But mid-range and budget phones are a completely different animal in the states, and OnePlus is moving into a market where the same kind of rules no longer apply. And if the rumored prices of these two new phones are true – especially the price of $ 200 for clover – OnePlus is targeting a tricky price point.

First, you need to understand that the biggest driver of budget phones in the United States is carriers. For better or worse, we are not a “buy it right away” unlocked first market. Carriers are the retailer you choose and most low-end phones are sold through prepaid operators. The last part is the key: Not only is this an even greater dependence on the company’s incipient partnership, but it’s about managing another subgroup of carriers. This is a completely different segment, the prepaid market is discouraged and the reputation of $ 200 for the cheaper phone puts OnePlus in a difficult position: at the top of the prepaid price range and below the level that carriers usually finance.

With analyst Avi Greengart at Techsponential, there are two ways to drive sales in the prepaid market. Either squeeze in things that immediately appeal to you personally or at a glance – a large screen or numerically more cameras, such – or be a recognizable brand like Samsung, Motorola or LG. Based on the details of Clover’s leak (and the fact that most customers have not heard of the company), OnePlus adopts the previous strategy with a large 6.52-inch screen and three rear cameras (but only one sounds good). It does not help here; OnePlus’ bread and butter in the US has so far been the Android enthusiast market that trades based on specifications and they will not buy a budget phone.

Samsung’s Galaxy A11 is not a great phone, but all that matters is what customers pay attention to and next to Clover it will be cheaper.

But on paper, Clover will still not compete with phones that can take advantage both benefits, such as the new Moto G Fast. Samsung’s Galaxy A11 even undercuts it in price with the same kind of personal benefits – even if you and I know that other specifications benefit clover, prepaid customers do not do much research. The benefits that clover can have, such as a large battery and potentially nicer software, do not appeal to “more and bigger things I can see are better”. In short, the benefits of OnePlus ownership will not come on their own.

Greengart says that the solution is available in the stores themselves. OnePlus needs to get retailers to market the phone:

The key to OnePlus with cheaper phones in the US will translate its unlocked enthusiast brand into a short retail business. OnePlus will need retail staff to target consumers to their phones. Something like, “You may not have heard of this company, but all technical reviewers gush over their advanced models.” It takes sales training, spits / competitions and telephones for personal use.

This is basically the opposite of the company’s typical marketing strategies. For OnePlus to succeed, it will requires to spend money in a way that it has not done before, market the phone more directly and get the operator to talk about it. Counterintuitively, this can be a more expensive marketing proposal than the company’s flagship phones.

$ 400 is no man’s land – Apple can swing it with SE (left), but even Google will have problems with 4a even if it is a better phone (right).

The same rules do not apply directly to the advanced “Billie” phone, but $ 400 is also a no-brainer when it comes to transportation-financed sales. Apple can push an intercom to that price point and succeed, but almost no one else can do it when costs end up through funding over several years; The difference between $ 400 and $ 600 or $ 800 is real, but people pay less attention when it’s just a few dollars a month. Again: While this is great, how will OnePlus sell these phones? And again, these would mean that you have to spend for these processes. OnePlus has to spend more money than it used to.

For OnePlus to succeed, it will requires to spend money in a way that it just has not done before

My biggest concern is that OnePlus will try to pursue the same approach as always: Almost no advertising and months of not really viral social media marketing, relying on specifications that will not sell in the US by themselves. Of course, there is no skin off my back if OnePlus fails, but I would really like to see the company compete in the US over more price points. More selection is always better and the US smartphone market feels stagnant compared to Europe and Asia, especially in the middle class and value segments.

OnePlus Can succeed here, but it will require a thorough reassessment of its usual strategies. The company has played up acknowledging when it’s wrong in the past, but I hope it’s willing to be proactive about things this time around, rather than change its ways only after it fails.

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