In a category that appears to have new product introduced every time one blinks their eye, it's hard to gain attention (unless you're Apple or Samsung) when you're about to enter the fray with something new. Despite this, the Chinese start-up founded by former Oppo employee Peter Lau dubbed OnePlus, has grabbed a sliver of the smartphone spotlight of late with the pending launch of their debut product, the OnePlus One- a smartphone that will begin taking calls on April 23, 2014.
Under the tagline "Never Settle", this spunky start-up is boasting quite a bit about their new device, taking shots at the competition, declaring the category is loaded with shortcomings and promising, "A major departure from the sameness we've seen in the smartphone category."
Echoing this bravado, Lau has taken to the company's Forum pages to regularly boast about everything One.
"It is our commitment to bring the best possible technology to users around the world, reaffirmed by our personal experiences as smartphone geeks," said in OnePlus' forum. "Only a few devices available on the market aim to satisfy tech lovers. We believe that consumers shouldn't have to choose between performance, quality and price. Our motto - Never Settle - illustrates our will to disrupt the way companies design and build mobile devices."
A few of the specs we know about for sure include a full HD, 5.5-inch display, 3100 mAh battery promising significantly improved battery life, a Sony Exmor IMX214 13MP camera and swappable back covers that let users change the look and feel of the phone. The One will ship with 16GB/64GB of memory - all with a price tag reported to be under $400.
The latest news regarding specs is the company's announcement to upgrade to the Snapdragon 801 processor after originally saying the smartphone would be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800. Perhaps nothing more than a PR trick here, as smartphone tech geeks flooded the company with messages imploring them to jump to 801. With all the promises of "no compromise" in the making of this device, hard to believe Snapdragon 801 wasn't always part of the plan.
Perhaps what is most interesting here is that analysts are all predicting the higher end smartphone market is leveling off and will actually see decline over the next few years and all the action for this category will be with lower-cost devices going forward - particularly in emerging markets. Odder still is the fact the smartphone market in China is the most competitive in the world in the lower-end category and Apple currently owns the high-end market with 80% market share in the country.
Going up against the gaudy numbers of Samsung and Apple for a piece of the higher-end market is certainly risky business but OnePlus certainly seems to have all their pre-launch ducks in a row, including a contest for a free trip to Hong Kong. We'll see what happens post-April 23.