Since its inception, OnePlus has been making only flagship smartphones, except for the time when it launched a mid-range smartphone, the OnePlus X. The 2015 phone was appreciated for its design, but ended up being a commercial failure. OnePlus decided not to make the OnePlus X2 and continue making flagship devices only. However, we are in 2020 now and things have changed a lot since then and it makes complete sense for the OnePlus to come out with a mid-range smartphone.
The prices of the OnePlus phones have sky-rocketed as it continued to increase year after year. In 2014, OnePlus introduced the OnePlus One as a flagship killer for Rs 21,999 and came with a successor called OnePlus 2 next August with a price tag of Rs 24,999. Now, the OnePlus flagship devices are offered in two brackets — which I like to call premium and ultra-premium — the OnePlus 7T priced Rs 37,999 and the OnePlus 7T Pro at Rs 53,999.
When OnePlus launched the OnePlus X, it was available for Rs 16,999, while at the same time, the OnePlus 2 was available with a better processor and camera for Rs 24,999. Things have changed now. A user with a budget of Rs 20,000 cannot afford to buy a OnePlus phone as the ASP of these devices have gone up with each iteration. If OnePlus comes out with a mid-range phone — say with the rumoured OnePlus 8 Lite — the OnePlus fans with a low budget will definitely feel happy about it.
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The strategy to launch a cheaper smartphone in a series has already proved successful for brands like Apple and Google. Apple’s iPhone XR emerged as the highest-selling smartphone of 2019, as per a Counterpoint report. The successor to the iPhone XR, or the iPhone 11, was launched at even lower price and it was received very well by the users.
Google doesn’t reveal the numbers of its sales but we know that the Pixel 3A received a much better response compared to the company’s flagship Pixel 3 series. Poco recently started its second innings with the launch of a mid-range Poco X2 smartphone at a jaw-dropping price of Rs 15,999 while it holds on to its flagship phone to be revealed later in the year.
So, when OnePlus phones have gone up the price ladder to go out of reach of people who genuinely wish to own a OnePlus device, it is only fair for the brand to cater to user demand. With the launch of OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro, if the brand announces a mid-range OnePlus 8 Lite smartphone, it could target all three kinds of customers — one who wants the ultra-premium phone, one who wants a flagship phone, and the one who wants an “affordable flagship”– the true flagship killer.
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