BANGALORE -- OnePlus, the Chinese smartphone maker that has released its new handset with top specs including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset, 4GB RAM and 64GB storage at less than $400, sees India as one of its biggest markets, a company official said on Friday.
Fans of the new phone, the OnePlus 2, braved lack of public toilets and evening rain in Bangalore, standing in line for a chance to win one of the coveted invites to the phone’s online sale, at a promotional event that OnePlus organized.
Similar events were organized in New Delhi and Jakarta in Asia, San Francisco and New York in the U.S. and Paris, Berlin, Milan and London in Europe on Friday.
The invites do no more than guarantee that the recipients get a sure shot, should they go ahead and purchase the smartphone, which will go on sale in India starting Aug. 11 on Amazon.com Inc.’s Indian site. The 64GB version costs 24,999 rupees ($390) and the 16GB version, expected later this year, will cost 22,999 rupees.
“My friends have the OnePlus One, but I want the OnePlus 2, it has great specs,” said Harshil Chotai, a college student studying computer applications in Bangalore, who said he’d been in line for 6 hours before the event, to be allowed into the venue, a local cafe. Chotai’s long vigil had earned him second place in the queue. “I’m going to sell my Sony Xperia Z2.”
200 Mile Trip
At the head of the queue was 56 year-old Narasimhan N.S., who had taken a train from Trichy, a town some 200 miles away to get to the Bangalore event on Friday morning. “I have a OnePlus One, it’s with my daughter,” he said. For his wait, he earned a OnePlus-branded backpack, with a gifts inside including a re-usable metal water flask and a OnePlus portable power bank.
“OnePlus 2, we like its speed, (storage) capacity and advanced fingerprint features,” Narasimhan added before heading out to a small lounge where fans were being given a chance to play with the new phone.
This is only the second smartphone that OnePlus, a Chinese startup that started a couple of years ago, has released, but brilliant marketing around the phone’s specifications, features and software -- the first iteration, the OnePlus One phone was shipped with the CyanogenMod operating system, an Android skin that many geeks love -- ensured the phone got a lot of attention, and garnered better than anticipated sales.
Increasing Market Share
“In the first month of sales, India accounted for 7 percent of the handsets sold,” Vikas Agarwal, the OnePlus general manager running its Indian operations said. Subsequently, that figure rose to become more than 30 percent. “India is one of our top three markets,” Agarwal said.
In the next five months, Agarwal expects the company will sell a million OnePlus 2 handsets in India alone, which the Chinese startup launched in 35 countries, via a virtual reality event four days ago.