[Let's Talk] Should OnePlus expand its product portfolio...

  1. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan
    Lollipop Jul 16, 2018

    Sridhar Ananthanarayanan , Jul 16, 2018 :


    OnePlus is a success story, having made a name for itself in a short span of 4 years since its launch in 2014. One of the reasons for its success, at a time and space where there was plenty of competition, was its focus on a single category - a space that was almost untapped by competition.

    Here we explore if OnePlus should continue its strategy of a single product focus, or is this the right time that the company starts capitalizing on its reputation and expand/ diversify its product range.

    Why Expand?
    OnePlus is a 'for profit' business entity. The ultimate objective of any 'for profit' entity is to generate profits (without resorting to unethical/ illegal practices) for its shareholders (owners). Relying on a single product to remain profitable is risky.

    So, should OnePlus, which is profitable with a single product, take the risk of entering new product categories (and thus reduce reliance on a single product)?

    OnePlus realized early that there is a large market of customers who want flagship grade specs on a smartphone, but were unwilling/ unhappy/ reluctant to shell out a large sum of money. At a time when most of the new players were focusing on making budget devices to maximize market share, OnePlus took a very unique approach that focused on enhancing the user experience, instead of making affordable devices for the mass market. They took their target market into confidence and through social media and other channels, collected ideas and feedback, and incorporated customer requirements into designing a product that instantly stuck a chord with them.

    OnePlus aptly labeled its products a 'flagship killer'. True to its name, the devices competed with flagships from competition in terms of specs and performance, but at a significantly lower price point. Today, despite the fact that OnePlus devices have doubled in prices (largest % increase in price on any smartphone) in 4 years, they have been successful because the devices still offer great value for money.

    Today, despite some mistakes, OnePlus is a 'brand' that people associate with quality and value for money.

    Since OnePlus produces only one product, it is also its flagship device. Their marketing has silently stopped calling the devices a flagship killer, to position the product as a true flagship, as the term 'flagship killer' sends out a signal that the product is 'lesser' than flagships from competition in some aspects. While that is true since some compromises have indeed been made (display, camera, water resistance, wireless charging, etc.), they don't want people to identify the brand as something 'less' than competition.

    USP - Dethroned?
    OnePlus' USP was flagship grade specs at a significantly lower price. It has been the king in that aspect so far, but today or in forseable future, it could well be dethroned.

    Asus Zenfone 5z offers better value for money today as far as hardware goes. Even the after sales service is rumoured to be much better with Asus. Xiaomi Mi 8 and Mi Mix series, Honor 10 series, LG G7/ V35, etc are other great alternatives to OnePlus 6.

    So where does all these leave OnePlus?

    Software and After Sales
    OnePlus would do well to spend its resources focusing on after sales service. In today's time, the most important factor that differentiates a leader from competition is largely service delivery, as there is too little in terms of product differentiation. Smartphone industry is approaching maturity as even budget smartphones are extremely capable in what they do, and sufficient for majority use.

    OnePlus has a huge advantage on the software front and that is unlikely to change as other OEMs focus on maximizing features out of the box. OnePlus, however, can consider including some of the most desirable features as part of its software.

    Since there is now competition in the segment where OnePlus was running the race alone, relying on one product alone may not be a good idea. OnePlus would do well in slowly expanding its product portfolio over time, employing a similar strategy as it did with its smartphone division.

    Today, there is not a lot of competition on the premium Tablets front, and most Android OEMs have accepted defeat to Apple in this space. Apple has utilized this opportunity to launch a sub $500 iPad to create a monopoly in the tablet space. The only two worthy competition from Android OEMs is from Samsung and Huawei. Samsung's premium tablets are expensive though, and that leaves Huawei as the only tablet maker offering premium grade hardware at very affordable prices (M5 series), the exact counterpart space on the tablet front.

    OnePlus should make use of this opportunity and launch a tablet (or a compact 2 in 1 device) that offers excellent value for money. This shouldn't be a budget tablet (as there are a lot of products already present in that segment), but a premium one around the $400 - $500 price point.

    The next product
    The 8 to 8.5 inch tablet space is a great balance between size and portability - perfect for media consumption and gaming. On the specs front, a QHD screen, latest processor, a large battery coupled with a 6/8 GB RAM would make for an excellent tablet in the market, in a segment that currently has little competition.

    Over the next 3 to 5 years, OnePlus could consider producing a gaming smartphone, which is essentially the regular one with an overclocked cpu, a bigger battery, and extra cooling mechanisms that can increase the thickness of the smartphone which the target market won't mind.

    I personally don't think OnePlus would compete in the budget space, because the margins are lower, competition is higher, and the brand they are trying to build is one of quality, that offers the best value for money (highest performance (specs) to price ratio).

    What, according to you, should be the next product that will drive revenue and profits for the company (along with smartphones)?

  2. brian.sedore
    Honeycomb Jul 18, 2018

    brian.sedore , Jul 18, 2018 :
    I think to straight-up answer the question “Should they expand their product portfolio?”, the answer has to be no. That’s not to say that I don’t want them to. I think a OnePlus tablet would be pretty awesome, but I am sadly coming to a realization that the Android tablet is kind of a dead product. Samsung is doing pretty well there, but other than that brand, there’s not really a whole lot going on in terms of Android tablets. Ever since they ended the Nexus line, there just aren’t any good, decently-priced Android tablets out there.

    Another point to bring up is the fact that OnePlus does not keep older phones once a new one comes out. In fact, I think I remember seeing the 5T out of stock even before the 6 was available to buy. I think that goes to show that they don’t like to keep too many products on-hand. If that’s the case, they probably aren’t looking to diversify their products.

    Another reason why I don’t mind them not branching out is because of their commitment to updating their devices. As much as I like Android over iPhone, there is just no comparison in terms of updates and I think that is clearly because of fragmentation in Android. Samsung is a prime reason why I wouldn’t want a company to have too many products on the go at once. Even their flagships don’t get updated quickly. It seems like they would much rather drop everything (including a recently released phone) and make a new product instead of working on updates for older devices. With OnePlus having so few models on the go, they can concentrate on the models that are currently out there.

    It also seems like they can’t keep up with demand as it is. I think the Bullets wireless headphones were sold out for a while. I could be wrong about this. Some of their variations of flagships sell out pretty quick too.

    As much as I would like to see different OnePlus products (other than phones), I’m satisfied with what they’re doing so far.

  3. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan
    Lollipop Jul 18, 2018

    Sridhar Ananthanarayanan , Jul 18, 2018 :
    it would be more appropriate if we refer to the tablet space in general, instead of Android tablets. tablets certainly did not achieve what was originally predicted - replace smartphones and laptops. but there is still a demand for them, that's why Apple continues to make them, and has even launched a budget iPad. it is this segment that Android OEMs must target. as explained in the original post, Huawei Mediapad is the only tablet in the market that offers topline specs at a budget price. OnePlus can make a product to give it competition in this space, given its software advantage.

    I think OnePlus estimates the demand (which can be reassessed over the production cycle which is approximately 6 months) and produces accordingly. they really don't want unsold stock lying around. infrastructure limitations are another explanation. but that doesn't mean they aren't trying to diversify. relying on a single product to remain profitable is risky, especially since there is now competition happening in that space.

    Samsung, Xiaomi, Nokia, and a few others are just flooding the market with products that are mostly similar. I agree this is not only a waste of resources, but also one that leads to cannibalization of their own products. using resources wisely and ensuring great after sales experience should be a priority.

    infrastructure limitations and an underestimation of demand could be possible explanations.

    currently, they have put all eggs in one basket.

    OnePlus is no longer the startup that is experimenting with a new product. it has grown into a brand that people associate with quality and value for money.

    so a new product under the same brand would be well received by the market. sure it may not replace the current product in terms of revenue or profitability, but a definite alternate profit stream for the company.

    like I said, it need not be a tablet. just another product that would keep the company in business for the long term.

    YN8463 and Patrickim2147 like this.
  4. Anand PM
    Honeycomb Jul 25, 2018

    Anand PM , Jul 25, 2018 :
    If the Product range circles around The Smartphone accessories, Then yes. I've liked everything that OnePlus sells on the site from Otg cables to backpacks. But getting my hands on more than One of each is impossible. Because by the time first one gets damaged the Product as a whole goes out of stock and a new devices comes out, the previous device and it's essential accessories are nowhere to be found.

    If OnePlus makes these things like phones, they will be much more accessible when the occasion calls for it.

  5. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan
    Lollipop Jul 25, 2018

    Sridhar Ananthanarayanan , Jul 25, 2018 :
    accessories alone won't be able to keep the company in business. and as the name implies, you need a main product for which these items are accessories. so what is that next product OnePlus should make that will drive revenue and profits?

  6. BattleAx
    Donut Jul 25, 2018

    DasTapan likes this.
  7. BattleAx
    Donut Jul 25, 2018

    BattleAx , Jul 25, 2018 :
    New products from One Plus would definitely be successful as One Plus offers 'value for money'.

    Elliott E. likes this.
  8. Sridhar Ananthanarayanan
    Lollipop Jul 25, 2018

    Sridhar Ananthanarayanan , Jul 25, 2018 :
    what should those product(s) be according to you?

  9. G_Parthesh_Jadhav_TNSs
    Gingerbread Jul 25, 2018

  10. BattleAx
    Donut Jul 25, 2018

    BattleAx , Jul 25, 2018 :
    Power banks, which could charge quickly (dash charge kind of thing) are a good option.

    Ccedrice and fjpartida551 like this.
  11. BattleAx
    Donut Jul 25, 2018

  12. Murman
    Jelly Bean Jul 25, 2018

  13. Andrei R.
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jul 25, 2018

    Andrei R. , Jul 25, 2018 :
    Protable battery with dash chargin capabilites, or continue the car charger with dash charging.

    Elliott E. likes this.
  14. Venky61
    OnePlus TV Expert Jul 25, 2018

    Venky61 , Jul 25, 2018 :
    [Let's Talk] Should OnePlus expand its product portfolio...?
    I definitely think that Oneplus should start aiming at expanding the Product portfolio... Looking at the trend of Oneplus's success story, products and accessories, its target is to become the "Apple" of Android market. And I don't see any negative in this as far as the customers are benefited with value for money products. To expand aggressively like Xiaomi would be a bad idea as it might increase the volume sales but would lose the focus and its commitments to maintain what it gained at first. So here's a list of products I think Oneplus should expand in its list
    1. Mid Range Phone - Oneplus is known for providing high end specifications at lower cost than Flagship devices. But there were some compromises which are manageable given the price. The success of the product line already shouts about it. Oneplus has already made a good brand value in a lot of countries and launching one mid range variant would be the right time to capture the market. The volume sales will increase for company but as the variants are only two (1 Mid range + 1 Flagship), software and hardware support would not be loosing its focus.
    Though Xiaomi isn't providing great experience in terms of software, the hardware and the price is making everyone chose the same brand in that range. Oneplus on otherside is trying to make users stick to it by its better user experience, features, specs and price. With right design choices and balance between features & cost, the mid range phone would definitely be a success and will increase the user data base of Oneplus.
    2. Chromebook Alternative/Android Laptop - Most of you might be thinking. Why chromebook? Why not Tablet. Lets accept that Tablet market has reached its saturation and started declining. With increased phone displays and smart home devices, the usage of tablets or Ipads is limited to providing entertainment to kids and technology assistance to parents. The sales of Ipad have also started seeing a decline and its logical because the life time for tablet is high. One would use a tablet for a much longer time compared to phone. So NO to tablet.
    Coming back to the point. Why Chromebook. The android laptop/chromebook is targeted at students, casual gamers and even professionals. Because of the android ecosystem, one can easily switch between phone and laptop. This market is very less explored. Some convertibles have attempted, though at wrong time. Being good at software development, Oneplus can implement more nifty features in the product and make it more user friendly than it is now.
    3. Bluetooth Speaker- The bluetooth speaker is one accessory that has a huge market at present. Though there are many budget wireless earphones and thought Oneplus is not recognized as a great audio device manufacturer, the demand for bullets wireless is because everyone wants to buy a well known brand at lower price than premium companies even if the sound is not extra ordinary. The trust factor.
    Battery life being the downside of budget range bluetooth speakers, Oneplus launching one with dash charging would be a hit. Many would discard the old ones and would buy. Yes, for longer sustainability the quality of the sound needs to be improved, which might be possible with some partnerships.
    4. Smart Fitness Watch- With increasing craze for fitness bands, a smart watch targeting at fitness would be really amazing. Most of the users are left out with ugly looking fitness bands to choose for if they can't afford Fitbit or Huawei ones.
    5. Action Camera- Go Pro has totally captured this market but not everyone is ready to afford one. I woudn't suggest to make a product equally competitive with Go Pro as it would be too over ambitious. The target should be budget users who want a weather proofing video/photo camera.

    Now not all the above products would give the same amount of profit shares as the present product line. But the main aim to make a chain of products such that the user sticks to the company's product line. This way, along with profit, along with addition of new user data base, Oneplus would be able to retain all the old users.
    So to end, this is all my opinion if Oneplus should expand the product portfolio or not. Baby steps are good until the market is swayed away by another wonder. So lets wait and see. :)
    Thanks for reading.

  15. mkantida
    Eclair Jul 25, 2018

    berserker912 likes this.
  16. mkantida
    Eclair Jul 25, 2018

    mkantida , Jul 25, 2018 :
    I'm totally disappointed since one pls doesn't support branded earphone like Sony

  17. 1sri
    Froyo Jul 25, 2018

    1sri , Jul 25, 2018 :
    #OnePlus it is Time! Design a smartwatch! This will really turn the tides in the smartwatch department and sell millions!

    #OnePlus really listens to its customers. Now that we have expanded n entered into other tech such as earphones, it's safe to say we will pick up all the products!

    Please design and deliver us these products!
    #OnePlus phone - Oneplus 6
    #OnePlus earphones - Bullets wireless
    #OnePlus headphones - NA
    #OnePlus smartwatch - NA
    #OnePlus stylus - NA
    #OnePlus smart glasses - NA
    #OnePlus laptop - NA
    #OnePlus Bluetooth speaker - NA
    #OnePlus gamepads - NA
    #OnePlus camera - NA
    #OnePlus wireless charging for above - NA

    #OnePlus I want you to become the first company to provide the best bang for buck in every dept of tech! We will absolutely love it.

    Please make it happen sooner than later!
    Trust in us n we will be there with you till the end!

    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018

  18. Sashikumar100
    Eclair Jul 25, 2018

    Sashikumar100 , Jul 25, 2018 :
    surely needed a expansions as it is a trustworthy brand now .... Tablet is a good option with a high end gaming specs and a excellent vary in music ...

  19. G_Ashutosh_Sharma_yXyy
    Honeycomb Jul 26, 2018

    G_Ashutosh_Sharma_yXyy , Jul 26, 2018 :
    Surly there should be some expansion, but in planned and properly manner, else will be just like Mi, who have many products in various category but sometimes user get confused over selecting the right one.

    My best wishes for the future.

  20. Mohammedshah_7
    Cupcake Jul 26, 2018

    Mohammedshah_7 , Jul 26, 2018 :
    yes sure. in my opinion one plus should show their power and make them dreamable one . for that one plus should introduce new headphones , phone case , laptops etc then the low class pulse will be get easily . at that moment we can grow a tree in their mind . the low class and middle class is more than high class.