Not long ago OnePlus announced that they were going to test the Australian waters with a soft sale of their latest device (and a few accessories) into Australia. Part of this soft sale included fan meetups in Sydney and Melbourne where fans would get a chance to meet some OnePlus and share their feedback of not just the soft sale but the company itself.
OnePlus have always been a niche company and they remain that. They are but a fraction the size of most of the phone manufactures you know and hear about. They know this and they use it to their advantage. They attempt to tap into the minds of their customers, consumers and fans. They listen to what we want and what we don’t want and then attempt to make the best device possible including as many features that their fans ask for as they can.
Seems simple doesn’t it? Unfortunately there is a lot more involved than just making a top notch phone. OnePlus have found that out the hard way. While they have improved over time they acknowledge they still have some areas where they can improve and that’s what these meetups are for — to find out what they are doing right and wrong and how they can improve.
The last two nights OnePlus have held meetups in Sydney and Melbourne at some impressive venues. At each venue there was about 130 – 150 attendees with many willing to give their views, opinions and thoughts. After a few tongue-loosening drinks OnePlus employees Kyle Kiang, Szymon Kopec and Steven Gao took to the stage and answered many questions openly and honestly> Below is a snippet of what they covered:
Q. Will accessories be sold to Australians during and after the soft sale?
A. All Accessories will be sold if and when they officially launch into Australia. Until then only the included accessories will be sold WITH a phone during the soft sale.
Q. Will stock be shipped from Australia or Hong Kong in the future?
A. At this stage it is unknown whether the logistics of storing stock in Australia is worth the cost. Currently it is a two day wait from order time to delivery. (Ausdroid expects them to remain shipping devices from Hong Kong if/when their sale into Australia is permanent)
Q. Will they offer an official AU plug in the future?
A. Although everyone in the crowd was comfortable purchasing a travel adaptor it was fairly unanimous that we should not have to on a permanent basis. The question was actually answered by in a video by Carl Pei himself. The simple answer is YES. If they do decide to sell directly into Australia permanently they will definitely include an AU ac adaptor in the box. A hint I passed around is that OPPO’s VOOC charger is EXACTLY the same as the OnePlus Dash charger. It may have green highlights instead of red but it charges at exactly the same speed — same chip inside apparently.
Q. Will warranty service be performed locally in the future for non-soft-sale devices?
A. At this stage it is undecided as shipping devices back overseas is not ideal and possibly not legal when officially selling devices in Australia (I am unsure of the legal mumbo jumbo fine print). All of their other locations have warranty service locally so we expect this to occur in Australia with them partnering with a local repairer for their warranty and service.
Q. How will they market it into Australia?
A. OnePlus acknowledge that Australia is a different market and that many of us want to get our hands on a device before purchasing, although we are happy purchasing online. They have had discussion with some local bricks and mortar stores and also with Amazon and other online sellers. Where these discussions lead it is unknown but it would NOT surprise me to see them land in JB HiFi etc in the future. They also discussed partnering with carriers but WILL NOT deviate from their insistence that their software remain untouched — ie. no bloatware at all.
Our carriers do make exceptions sometimes for this and OnePlus have managed to implement this overseas, especially in the UK where O2 are known for their bloatware so it is possible it may be possible here. I suspect Vodafone could be a likely landing spot for them with their new plans where the phones are purchased as part of the phone, thus making them a very attractive purchase given their low cost price. OnePlus do not want to end up increasing the cost of their phone — another way they like to remain true to their promises and fans.
Aside from these usual channels OnePlus will continue to rely on word-of-mouth from users to spread the good word. This is how OnePlus have grown from it’s inception and with OnePlus continuing to produce great devices they are confident that once people try it they will tell anyone and everyone how good their phones are.
What promises do they make with respect to updates to their phones?
OnePlus have been burnt in the past with their promises and no longer make any promises. They expect their devices to receive at least one full Android update (eg. N to O) and as far as security updates are concerned they are one of the best out there. They attempt to roll out security updates one month after Google release them. Some manufacturers roll them out quarterly and some rarely. OnePlus rolling them out monthly, and only a month late is an impressive aim.
In the end a lot of questions were answered by the OnePlus staff. Not only were the questions answered in a public forum but all the staff were approachable afterwards for at least an hour or so for people to ask more. Once OnePlus had handed out their multiple backpacks (I suspect around 25-30) and two OnePlus 5 phones as door prizes I suspect everyone left happy. Those who weren’t lucky enough to receive one of their high quality backpacks didn’t go home empty-handed with every attendee receiving a Dash Charge t-shirt, OnePlus notepad and string bag.
We don’t have a definite answer as to whether OnePlus will actually launch in Australia. At the Sydney event they said the soft launch sale will end when the stock allocated to it runs out, but we also know they’ve restocked at least once. The company representatives confirmed they do not currently have Australian staff though, and any move into our market would likely need some kind of local representation. If I were a betting man I would lay some money on OnePlus soon opening up for business in Australia – they seem very happy with the response the soft sale has received, although they need to do a proper evaluation.
Additionally, they already knew they had a sizeable fan base here as they’ve seen over 30,000 activations of devices in Australia since the company started selling phones overseas. That’s a lot of imports, and a lot of strong word-of-mouth support. Impressive, considering they do not actually sell their products here.
Were you at one of the OnePlus Fan meetups? Did you have your questions answered? Are there more any you would like to see answered? Let us know below and we will do our best to find out for you.
Disclaimer: Ausdroid were guests of OnePlus at both meetups (for which we thank them for their hospitality) and received the swag seen above.