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The 2016 smartphone winter rush is here

Brand stories Updated: Dec 01, 2016 11:36 IST
Highlight Story

The long queue outside Finnish Operator Elisa’s store, Nov 2016 (OnePlus)

It’s a season of change and winter is finally here. While the majority of the people flock to cafes for a hot ‘cuppa’, there’s a different breed of consumers queuing up on a chilly night to get their hands on the latest smartphone.

They are the “fans” affectionately called the “community” for OnePlus, a plucky global smartphone startup who are evoking a response from consumers reminiscent of Apple, known to create similar euphoria at the launch of their new products.

If you’ve ever met a Finn, chances are they’ve mentioned the reserved nature of their countrymen. Finns are talkative and hospitable, but the myth of the withdrawn Finn is still alive and well inside Finland. On November 22, a horde of people started amassing outside the Elisa Pop-up Store in Helsinki, Finland’s leading telecom operator to take a sneak-peek at the latest smartphone from OnePlus, the OnePlus 3T, and be the first people globally to purchase it. So much for the myth - the Finnish fans are fanatical, and their presence made the event truly memorable with Elisa even stating that the smartphone launch was the most successful they had ever experienced.

Across the English Channel, the Brits geared up for the same. The onset of the English chill across London did not blunt the fans’ enthusiasm as they gathered outside the O2 Store on Oxford Street, Europe’s favourite shopping area. Social media was abuzz with photos and videos shot by fans showing spectacular queues winding around several blocks.

The long queue outside British Operator O2’s store, Nov 2016. (OnePlus)

In the current world market scenario, queuing up to obtain new products are rare. The interesting thing is that they’re not waiting for limited-edition Air Jordans or a Louis Vuitton bag, but the launch of the OnePlus 3T, a smartphone brand that has taken off amongst European and American users alike in recent years. A few of the journalists even jokingly remarked that besides Apple, OnePlus is the only other technology brand that people are willing to queue up for.

This isn’t the first time that OnePlus has stirred up so much commotion amongst the community globally. The release of almost every generation of the brand’s products, including the OnePlus 3 in June a few months ago and the OnePlus 2 last year, have seen massive queues all around the world. The pop-up shop for the OnePlus 3 in Bangalore, India this year saw nearly 2,000 fans queuing up that drew parallels to people lining up outside banks and teller machines to obtain new currency in the aftermath of demonetisation in the country.

The long queue outside OnePlus 3 Popup store in Bangalore, June 2016. (OnePlus)

A New Technology Darling among Global Media

OnePlus was established at the end of 2013 and has been operating for almost three years. CEO Pete Lau recently said, “It’s easy to become a well-known global brand, but it’s very hard to be a respectable global brand, but that’s exactly what OnePlus’ vision is to become - a respected global brand.” What makes him most proud is the “Never Settle” brand philosophy which has attracted a like-minded team to OnePlus who share the same values as their consumers.

Meanwhile, OnePlus’ philosophy of letting great products speak for themselves have earned it commendable praise around the world and particularly in mainstream media. An article in Time magazine even goes on to say the following: “Phone of Dreams. It’s hard to imagine a better phone for Android geeks.”

Time magazine’s review of the OnePlus One. (OnePlus)

Many popular domestic and foreign media including Internet news blogs like Mashable hold the OnePlus 3 in extremely high regard. Praise for the flagship OnePlus 3 this year has been nothing short of amazing with several global media outlets describing the smartphone as an “Android smartphone that’s damn near perfect”.

A few of the memorable press the product has received are as follows:

•“A true flagship phone with style and power.”- WIRED

•“OnePlus 3 is practically the perfect Android smartphone.” - Mashable

•“The OnePlus 3 is the rare kind of phone I can recommend without reservations.”-The Verge

•The lifestyle technology publication, Stuff, ranked the OnePlus 3 numero uno, out-performing the likes of the Samsung S7.

Stuff Magazine ranked the OnePlus 3 as the best smartphone of its time. (OnePlus)

The OnePlus 3 also enjoys a solid reputation amongst its consumers. The OnePlus 3 out-scored established international brands such as Apple and Samsung on Amazon India, with a score of 4.4 out of 5, making it the highest-rated consumer smartphone amongst users. Its reputation as the best flagship Android phone of the year is much deserved.

The OnePlus 3 is now the highest customer-rated smartphone available on Amazon (OnePlus)

Product is King – Recreating a Classic

The most noticeable improvement in the OnePlus 3T is an upgrade of the near perfect performance of the previous generation’s core configuration: the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Processor (up to 2.35 GHz) has about 10% performance improvement while including a 128GB storage variant along with 6GB of RAM. Also, the front-facing camera has been upgraded from 8 to 16 million megapixels, the phone runs on a newer version of OxygenOS (Android Marshmallow) and comes with an even cooler Gunmetal colour. Meanwhile, the “Dash Charge” quick-charging technology along with a slightly upgraded 3,400 mAH battery means a mere 30-minute charge replenishes the charge to deliver enough power for the remainder of the day.

The Verge’s review of the OnePlus 3T proclaimed the company in making its best phone even better, giving it an incredible score of 8.8 (higher than the 8.6 for the OnePlus 3) and ranking it alongside Samsung and Apple as one of the best phones presently available.

The Verge’s 8.8 rating of the OnePlus 3T (OnePlus)

When rumours surfaced that the OnePlus 3T might not be launched in India, there was a massive uproar among fans and those in the media industry. Some even went as far as to create a petition on change.org, hoping to convince the company and guarantee the phone’s launch at the earliest. Finally, on November 25, OnePlus India officially declared that the OnePlus 3T would be launched in India on December 2, with pop-up stores following the launch in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore respectively.

Partnered Feature

This content was created by HT Brand Studio and not the editorial team