OnePlus has been one of the hottest mobile companies in the media in recent months, mainly because it's offering a highly compelling flagship smartphone for a mid-range price, but also because the company had its fair share of criticism over its "unusual" marketing campaigns that were meant to raise awareness about its product and go viral.
The company launched its flagship "OnePlus One" phone early this year with a quad-core 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 chip (based on Krait 400 CPU cores and Adreno 330 GPU), 5.5" screen with 1080p resolution, 3 GB of RAM, 16 GB (and 64 GB for only $50 more) storage options, 13MP rear camera with 4k recording, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 3,100 mAh battery and Android 4.4 KitKat.
These are the kinds of features only much more expensive flagship phones had at the time of its launch, yet the company was able to sell this phone for only $300 – with one caveat. Potential customers had to obtain an invitation to get one. This meant making friends with strangers in the OnePlus Forums or begging one of your real friends to give you an invitation. The process was rather frustrating, especially for the company's most eager customers. If the most loyal customers of a company have a hard time getting its products, that's not usually a good sign.
The reason the invite system existed in the first place is because OnePlus was trying to sell the phone at virtually no margin. That's why it couldn't afford any inventory mistakes, and it had to be certain about all of its orders; otherwise, a major mistake could have bankrupted the company.
OnePlus now appears to have realized the invite system wasn't a great way for customers to purchase its products, so it's announcing a pre-order system to replace the old invite system.
“During a limited time window, you will be able to place an order for the OnePlus One. If we have the items in stock, we’ll ship immediately. If we don’t, it will automatically become a pre-order. No matter what, we’ll always tell you our best approximation for when it will ship before you submit the payment authorization (we’ll reserve the payment and charge you when we ship).There’s a time limit, but no limit on the amount of orders that can be made. If we get a lot of pre-orders, we’ll simply show you a longer shipping estimation date. Any time after the pre-order time window closes, you’ll be able to forfeit your place in line, cancel the order, and release the payment reserve if you don’t wish to wait any longer. If you receive an invite while waiting for a pre-order to ship, you can apply it to skip the pre-order queue and have your order shipped immediately.”
This new system will launch late October, and the company hopes more people will be able to get their hands on its highly sought-after OnePlus One smartphone.