Almost exactly a year ago, on April 23, OnePlus launched the highly controversial OnePlus One smartphone with an irksome invite-only system that made the phone hard to get. However, that invite system, along with some of OnePlus' more unusual campaigns, also provided the much needed awareness for the small startup with razor-thin profit margins.
Now, OnePlus finally seems ready to end the invitation system completely (at least for the OnePlus One). The company announced that the OnePlus One can now be purchased globally and directly, with no invitation required.
From the beginning, OnePlus promised a high-end smartphone for mid-range prices -- $300 for the 16 GB version or $350 for the 64 GB version. The company delivered on that promise, which played a big role in OnePlus' continuous success, which was also boosted by the artificial scarcity created by the invite system.
OnePlus didn't just use the invite system to make people want the device more, though. The company also had a practical reason for it. The fact that it operated on thin profit margins meant that it couldn't take too many risks with its inventory.
In other words, OnePlus couldn't afford to build too many devices that it may have been unable to sell quickly enough. That could have increased costs for the company, which could have either made it unprofitable and unable to fund production of new units, or possibly forced the company to raise the price. One of the reasons the OnePlus One had such a high demand was because of its low price.
Because the invitation system still remained a pain point for many potential customers, OnePlus launched the "open sales Tuesday" program a few months ago, which allowed buyers to order the OnePlus One on Tuesday, every week, without the need for an invite.
Although that system is gone for the OnePlus One, the company is not abandoning it as a strategy. OnePlus said that the OnePlus 2, which should arrive on the market in the next few months, will still require invites. At least, it will initially, so OnePlus can more easily manage the inventory risk.
To celebrate the one year anniversary and the end of the invite system for the OnePlus One, the company will also offer 75 percent discounts on OnePlus Flip Covers and Premium Screen Protectors for a 24-hour period.