OnePlus has a Problem

I bought the OnePlus 5 last year. A few weeks later, there was a OnePlus 5T. And before I could convince myself on upgrading there was a OnePlus 6, and now in a couple of days, there’ll be a 6T.

OnePlus, the company we first saw as a flagship killer, has evolved from being a small unknown brand, to a big company. And it seems the target is no longer the enthusiasts as we first thought. It also seems to no longer be the true value-for-money option with new entrants like the PocoPhone.

One can argue that it is only Apple who can sit pretty for a whole year without upgrading their smartphones. And their significant upgrades always take two years. Samsung always has two main launches each year: the S series and the Note series. Huawei on the other hand has the P series and the Mate series. LG has the G series and the V series. So in some way, one can say OnePlus is doing what every other company is doing out here.

But herein is the problem. The t-upgrades OnePlus offers cannot be compared to the differences between say Samsung’s S and Note Series. The S9 is very different from the Note 9 from design to target market. They have mostly the same specs, but one group of people will definitely prefer one to the other.

OnePlus 6T Price in Kenya
OnePlus 6T

Take a look at the OnePlus 6. There’s 8GB RAM, and a Snapdragon 845. What new thing would the OnePlus 6T bring? In terms of specs… pretty much nothing. But in terms of hardware, we can expect that under-display fingerprint scanner, and the reduced so-called tear-drop whatever notch. They also seem to have removed the headphone jack.

When the OnePlus 6 launched, I wrote a post telling people to consider skipping it because in a few months there’ll be a better phone from the company. And now, just a little more than 4 months later the OnePlus 6T is coming. And this isn’t like a minor upgrade as you would say the 5T was to the 5. This is a big change. Plus considering the fact that the pricing would be very slightly different, one must feel the pinch.

Why would one want to get a device, whether as an enthusiast or even as a normal buyer, only to hear there’s a newer better version in less than 5 months?

OnePlus should think of either having another dedicated line of devices, or extending their upgrade timelines. In a few months there’s probably be a OnePlus 7. I don’t know what new slogan they’ll go with. OnePlus 7: Speed Unlocked? By the way, where does all the e-waste go?

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