OnePlus seems to be taking a major turn with the officialization of the Nord N100, breaking with the strategy pursued by the brand so far. The DNA of the manufacturer, who so loved to cultivate its difference, seems to evolve drastically and one can wonder if OnePlus is still OnePlus.
In several years of existence, OnePlus has built a fairly unique image in Europe. The brand has indeed cultivated a number of notable differences to stand out from the competition. Unfortunately, while the manufacturer has just formalized the OnePlus Nord N100 and Nord N10 5G, there are some reasons to believe that this strong and original identity is slowly starting to crumble. Explanations.
OnePlus, what is it?
Above all, it is good to remember this famous identity long put forward. First of all, it’s a daring choice: when the vast majority of manufacturers multiply new smartphones every year in order to flood the market and mark their presence, OnePlus made the choice of rarer releases in order to target more fair. The firm explained that it wanted to offer the best smartphone at the best price, whether on its main ranges or on the “T” versions.
OnePlus has also long played the card of “Never Settle” that we could understand in French by ” never be satisfied with what you have ” or ” always go further “. It is in this perspective that we have long spoken of flaghsip killer to evoke the brand’s smartphones. This notion clearly demonstrated a desire to play the troublemaker by offering experiences worthy of the high-end without this really being felt on the price.
Add to that a brand that is really close to its community via forums and social networks, excellent for quickly bringing Android updates on a very popular OxygenOS interface, developing a slightly geeky image but not too much, while assuming certain technical choices. controversial – no microSD drawer, no IP68 certification – to promote other elements of the user experience.
However, some recent news could compromise this brand image.
The year 2020 of OnePlus
The year 2020 for OnePlus has been quite special and we are not even referring here to the health crisis that has rocked the whole world and which has arguably also affected the company. Already, the brand has tried a big move upmarket accompanied by a significant price increase on the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro which was not necessarily very well received as it denoted compared to the usual strategy of the manufacturer.
Then, we saw the appearance of the OnePlus North in August. A very convincing mid-range, faithful to the philosophy of the good smartphone at the right price mentioned above. However, this product is also the first of the brand not to use a Series 8 Snapdragon. Despite this particularity, the overall experience offered remained well in the vein of what OnePlus had accustomed us to.
And in the process, the OnePlus 8T has established itself as one of our biggest favorites of this year: it returns to the sources of the brand by offering a complete and affordable top of the range. With these four smartphones that are relatively different from each other – but all 5G compatible so as not to compromise on this point – we already felt that the brand’s identity was evolving.
And then the OnePlus Nord 100 and Nord 10 5G arrived, bringing the number of the brand’s new smartphones in 2020 to six.
Reinvent yourself or fall into line?
These two new smartphones are UFOs with regard to the history of OnePlus, especially the Nord N100. On the one hand, the brand shows that it is no longer really betting on rarefied releases and that it seems more and more tempted by the idea of in turn flooding the market as Xiaomi, Realme or Samsung are already doing. to recite nobody else but them. On the other hand, the Nord N100 is a smartphone full of compromises that do not at all resemble the DNA of the manufacturer.
It does not take advantage of an OLED screen – technology however dear to OnePlus – nor a Full HD display and is satisfied with a very modest Snapdragon 460 far from the high performance that the manufacturer has always acclaimed. In addition, it is equipped with a microSD drawer yet still shunned by the brand. This OnePlus Nord N100 is actually not a OnePlus, but rather a slightly revisited Oppo A53.
Sold at 199 euros, it seeks to compete with brands that are well established in the entry level such as Xiaomi, something that we would not have imagined a year ago. We do not find here the particularity of OnePlus and it seems that the company is adopting a more agreed and already proven strategy.
The shadows of Oppo
It remains to be seen what could justify this 180-degree turn. We could mention the recent departure of Carl Pei, co-founder of the brand who had never ceased to praise the philosophy of OnePlus. Note also that the other co-founder, Pete Lau, has recently officially become part of the Oplus group which manages both Oppo and OnePlus.
However, we are entitled to wonder if Oppo’s strategic decisions will not gradually begin to influence those of OnePlus at the risk of no longer really differentiating the positioning of the two brands.
Therefore, can we really fear a disappearance of OnePlus – which has fired several employees in Europe as reported by 01Net – for the benefit of Oppo? Let us avoid going too fast in the work, but the hypothesis is not completely incongruous.