OnePlus, maker of the One smartphone, has finally dropped the system whereby consumers could only buy a device if they had an invite from the company - but the restriction will return for the forthcoming OnePlus 2.
The move to close down the invite system comes almost exactly a year after OnePlus named the first 16 countries that would get the device. Six months later, OnePlus began shipping the high-spec, Cyanogen-powered One to those markets.
OnePlus has experimented with a number of techniques to manage its sales pipeline - and, it says, to keep a lid on its razor thin margins. Historically, only shoppers with invites could buy the device, though it did make rare exceptions: most recently, it allowed those without invites to buy a One from its website for a 24 hour period every Tuesday. Before that, it opened sales to the public sporadically during 72 hour windows.
Would-be buyers won't need to keep an eye out for these purchasing windows any longer. The company announced on Monday that it will do away with the invite system altogether for the One.
Ultimately, all that means is that the OnePlus' 'flagship killer' will, just like rival flagships, be available to anyone willing to part with their cash any day of the week. If it weren't for the One's price and spec combination, which has managed to undercut rivals, it would be an unremarkable move.
"We have always wanted to put great products into the hands of more people. And, we now feel confident that we have matured enough to handle the increased complexity that comes along with opening up sales completely," OnePlus said yesterday.
Some will, however, be disappointed to learn that OnePlus will bring back the invite system for its forthcoming OnePlus 2, though the company says it will be "far more prepared to make the same transition" away from invite for that device at some point in the future. Basically, it says, if fans want the same quality device for the price it offers, the invite system is necessary.
"We're committed to maintaining razor-thin margins in order to give as much value as possible back to our users, and this drastically increases our risk. The OnePlus 2 will bring the challenges that come along with a brand new product, and initially, our invite system will help us to manage that risk. It also helps us to be sure that every OnePlus 2 user gets the amazing experience that they deserve," the company said.
OnePlus yesterday also announced large discounts on its covers and screen protectors available to buyers in the EU, Hong Kong, North America, and Taiwan.
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