There’s good news for folks that’ve been trying to get their hands on a OnePlus One smartphone: you can order one without an invitation today.
There’s also bad news: you can only place orders between 11:00AM and noon Eastern Time and there’s no guarantee your phone will ship promptly.
Update: Not surprisingly, it looks like the pre-order website is straining under heavy load. I’ve been unable to access it since 11:00AM. Color me not shocked.
Update 2: The pre-order page is back online, and it looks like someone had a change of heart. Orders are now open until 2:00PM.
OnePlus sells its smartphone for $299 and up, which is pretty close to what it costs to actually manufacture the phone. So if the company had a lot of unsold units sitting in a warehouse, it’d be losing money.
To keep that from happening OnePlus has been manufacturing the phone in relatively small batches so that it knows it’s not making more than it can sell. Up until recently it’s managed inventory by only selling units to folks who have an invitation. But today the company is launching open order/pre-orders… for a limited time.
The idea is that anyone can place an order for the phone today and if the company has one in stock, it’ll ship it right away. If not, your order will be treated as a pre-order and the company will ship new phones as they become available on a first-come, first-served basis.
When the OnePlus One first launched earlier this year, it offered a pretty interesting value proposition: $299 gets you a phone with a 5.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 13MP camera, and a 3100mAh battery. It runs a custom version of Android 4.4 KitKat developed by Cyanogn Inc, and there’s also a 64GB model available for $349.
OnePlus has come under scrutiny for some obnoxious marketing techniques, and the phone’s hardware doesn’t look as spectacular today as it did this spring. But the phone still has some of the best hardware you can buy for under $300.