OnePlus announced on Wednesday June 16 that it would further merge its business with Oppo to manufacture its smartphones. The manufacturer promises to remain independent and continue to offer its own products. Do you buy it
As surprising as the announcement of this “rapprochement” is, it has sparked a lot of talk in the technosphere. OnePlus’ gradual oppoization is not a new phenomenon, and it would be pretty curious to be surprised to see a sub-brand being absorbed by its parent brand anyway. Especially when this sub-brand starts to compete and cannibalize the parent brand’s catalog.
What amazes me, however, is the whole language surrounding the lexical field of collaboration, a collaboration that this recording from OnePlus by Oppo aims to present as a symmetrical exchange.
Is OnePlus independence a mask to save face?
Autonomy and independence are two different things. In his statement on the announcement of this famous “new company” for OnePlus, CEO Pete Lau (who incidentally also leads Oppo’s product strategy) assured that “we will continue to operate independently and focus on delivering the best possible products and experiences, like us always have. “
While we don’t really know what this link means, Pete Lau stated that it could help speed up software updates, for example. We already know that OnePlus uses Oppo’s infrastructure for research and development, sourcing and its production lines. What is left of OnePlus’ reservation? The creative process? Marketing? Customer service?
OppoPlus: The Risk of Rebadged Products
It’s a valid criticism, but one that has often been exaggerated in the past: But some smartphones actually look too much like existing Oppo models. The newest one, the OnePlus Nord N100, is actually a near-copy of the Oppo A53.
So some fear that this connection will result in Oppo smartphones simply being renamed and launched as OnePlus devices, especially in markets like the US. But in order for the brand to continue to exist, you need original products, right?
In an interview I had with the head of OnePlus ‘strategy in Europe, he stated that the two pillars of OnePlus’ independence from Oppo are the software (i.e. OxygenOS) and the OnePlus community.
But the software part, in this case OxygenOS 11, has allied itself with part of the community precisely because it has moved away from the Android Stock spirit that is traditionally respected at OnePlus. Will the rapprochement with Oppo “to offer faster updates” also include a “rapprochement” between OxygenOS and ColorOS?
OnePlus has certainly promised that its smartphones in Europe will continue to run on OxygenOS. But in China the manufacturer has already given up its own overlay in favor of ColorOS.
Should OnePlus continue to exist at all?
“Why should I care?” You might very well ask yourself. And you’d be right. After all, it’s pretty silly to worry about the future of a purely for-profit private company (not that it’s wrong in itself).
As much as I’m a OnePlus fan, I know that Carl Pei and Pete Lau didn’t wake up one fine morning in December 2013 trying to create a fair smartphone brand and moralize the market by making technology accessible to everyone. No, the primary motivation is and will be money.
That applies to a company, but also to us consumers. As a Homo Economicus, should I be tied to a certain brand, driven by my personal interests? Should I be moved by the thought of seeing a company disappear whose products and / or services I value?
Personally, I would say no. I’m more attached to OnePlus out of convenience than out of sentimentality. If OnePlus went away, I’d be annoyed because I’d have to invest in an ecosystem and product catalog from another, lesser-known brand that may also be more expensive.
But after a few months I’ll get over it. I have no emotional connection with this brand. What about you?
So much for this week’s survey on OnePlus’ independence after the Oppo takeover. I want to thank everyone who participated and gave their thoughts in the comments. Have a nice weekend and until Monday to discover the results and our analysis.