OnePlus recently dazzled the tech world with another gorgeous, powerful, low-cost smartphone — the OnePlus 2. Now, the Chinese company is already looking ahead to its next big launch. OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei told USA Today in an interview that the next OnePlus phone will arrive in time for Christmas. He also dismissed the importance of NFC and expressed his hopes for OnePlus’ future.
Pei was characteristically enigmatic and coy in his comments about the next OnePlus phone that’s due out before the end of 2015. He confirmed that “there’s going to be a second phone this year, before the end of the year. Hopefully for Christmas,” but didn’t give any big hints as to what kind of specs it will have or where it sits on the smartphone pricing spectrum.
“When I saw the prototype for that phone I was like ‘holy s— that’s going to be my daily driver.'”
“It may or may not be [higher spec’d than the OnePlus 2],” he said. “When I saw the prototype for that phone I was like ‘holy s— that’s going to be my daily driver,’ but then when the OnePlus 2 production version came out it’s also super nice, so its really hard to decide now what to use.”
“It’s going to be amazing, but today I’m not going to talk about it,” Pei concluded.
It’s entirely possible that the next OnePlus phone will be the cheaper Mini version that was rumored back in December of 2014, but it could be another device entirely. Either way, it sounds as though we’ll be hearing a lot more about the next OnePlus phone in the near future.
In the interview, Pei also addressed the main criticism tech pundits have conjured up for the OnePlus 2: It has no NFC. “I think the entire issue of NFC is overblown,” Pei said. “Very few people are using NFC, so we cut it. It’s as simple as that. I know that Android Pay is coming but all that is in the future. It is going to gain widespread adoption in stores 12-18 months from now. By that time people will have moved on to the next device.”
Pei also revealed that OnePlus was working on a fitness tracker, but scrapped it to stay focused on making phones. He even dismissed the idea that OnePlus will make smart home devices, saying that “different brands should focus on different things.”
The rest of the discussion centered around OnePlus’ goals and philosophy as a company. Pei explained that the entire reason why he started OnePlus was to make a quality Android phone with as much attention to detail as the Apple iPhone.
“In August 2013, some of the early OnePlus people and some of our friends sat in a restaurant and noticed everyone using [the] iPhone,” he said. “We started asking ourselves ‘why?’ The conclusion was no one else cared about the product as much as Apple does.”
And so Pei and his cohorts made the OnePlus One with the goal of making “the best Android phone,” with the company striving to “put as much care into the product as Apple puts into [its] products.”
While Samsung, LG, HTC, and others stress out over profit margins and allow economics to drive their smartphone businesses, Pei says that OnePlus remains focused on the phone itself — not its profits. Pei said the company broke even this past year, and although he hopes and expects the company to turn profitable over time, that’s not the ultimate goal.
“The most important metric for us is what people say about our phone, are our users happy, can we survive this year or not?” Pei said.
Although Pei’s expectations of 3-5 million sales this year may seem modest in comparison with the quantities of phones Apple or Samsung sell, he thinks OnePlus will be a big player in the industry for the long haul.
“In 5 years I think it will be Apple, OnePlus, and Samsung because there’s no more room in the market,” Pei said. “Everyone else would’ve died because they couldn’t reach the scale they wanted fast enough or they couldn’t have a margin to sustain their business. Look at the soft drink space: there are only two players, Pepsi and Coke.”
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