One Consumer Who Won’t Be Buying The OnePlus One
Today is the day that OnePlus unveiled their first offering to the world. Last night I stayed up until 4AM just so I could see the unveiling first-hand. I was that excited about this phone. When I saw that the price started at only $299 for the 16GB variant and only $349 for the 64GB variant I was even more hyped about this device. I sat in delirium and waited for more information about this incredible device to pour in; and then, the presentation was over.
The Stages Of Grief
I had stayed up until 4AM on a Tuesday night to find out what all the hype was about. When a company says that they have built a “Flagship Killer” your ears tend to perk up, at least a little bit. I finally see their entire presentation and the only real new information I have is the exact price point for the phone, and what it actually looks like.
We all knew the approximate hardware before going in because OnePlus was kind enough to tell us about it weeks in advance. After we know that the hardware is essentially the same as every other flagship, it comes down to software and other additional features to make someone want to drop their current device for a new one.
The ability to choose between on-screen or capacitive keys is pretty cool, but not enough to make me drop my current devices. I prefer on-screen navigation buttons anyway and I no longer own a device (except my plucky Droid Incredible) that has capacitive keys, so that’s not a big selling point to me.
Then I began to think…
Where The OnePlus One Shines
If I want a 5-inch full HD screen with a powerful snapdragon processor, I could have had that since November with the Nexus 5 and it will get updates as soon as Google can get them to the servers. If I wanted to run Cyanogenmod nightlies on my Nexus 5, I’m about 3 fastboot commands and a few downloads away. Simply put, Cyanogenmod 11S as it has been dubbed, is no more than a hardware adaptation of their already available open source software.
So what makes the OnePlus One special? In a word, nothing. Nothing sets the OnePlus One apart from the competition except for its price, and quite frankly the premium to have had a Nexus 5 six months ago, is worth not having to wait.
What you should know, though, is that it’s not a garbage phone. It’s clearly a high spec’d beast for a very affordable price tag. I’m just pointing out that this isn’t what it’s masquerading to be. The Nexus brand of phones is not meant to be a “Flagship Killer,” just the opposite, really. With Nexus devices, I don’t really expect anything groundbreaking, just a phone that has high end hardware for a good price and sports Google’s latest software offerings.
When a company that is trying to come in and claims that you should “Never Settle” and says that they’re going to make something that makes other OEMs look silly, I suppose it’s hard to live up to the manufactured hype.
Plus, as Ron Amadeo cited in his post on Google+, this thing will likely have a slow update process compared to other OEM devices. Cyanogen does not get Android versions earlier than anyone else, they have to wait for the code to drop in AOSP and then it takes them about 6 months to release a stable version of the software.
As of right now, 4.4.2 has been out in the wild for about 4 months and there still isn’t a stable release of CyanogenMod based on 4.4.2 available for any devices.
Like I said before, this phone isn’t worthless. There are plenty of people in the world that are actually ready for an upgrade and this phone is affordable and has all of the latest hardware and this will be a perfectly good replacement. In fact, I already recommended it to a friend whose Galaxy Note II is smashed to bits and is looking to upgrade soon. It’s a perfectly good phone for everything that it is, but that is all; it is good.
When it comes to a device being a “Flagship Killer,” I expect something that is a “killer feature” and this device simply doesn’t deliver.
You’re now reading this a full week (or more) after I’ve written it, so what do you think? Is there something that I’ve totally missed with this thing? Did I miss the point? Tell me how drunk I am in the comment section, below and of course, on Twitter and Google+.