OnePlus plans to launch one of the first smartphones with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and 5G network support (although it won’t necessarily be the first as implied during Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 launch event). But the technology that goes into a 5G phone isn’t cheap… and neither will be the next flagship phone from OnePlus.
According to The Verge, the company’s next flagship could cost $200 to $300 more than its latest phones.
Since the OnePlus 6T currently sells for $549 and up, that suggests the OnePlus 7 (or whatever it’s called) could sell for as much as $849 and up.
While that’s not exactly a ridiculous price in today’s smartphone landscape, it’d the most expensive OnePlus phone to date… by a lot.
Apple, Samsung, LG, Huawei, Google, and other phone makers all offer 4G phones with price tags close to $1000. But OnePlus got its start a few years ago by introducing a line of phones with flagship-level specs and mid-range prices.
The OnePlus One sold for $299 and up when it launched in 2014. A year later the company launched the OnePlus 2 for $329 and up. And prices kept climbing. Here are the launch prices for most of the company’s flagships at launch
- OnePlus One – $299
- OnePlus 2 – $329
- OnePlus 3 – $399
- OnePlus 3T – $439
- OnePlus 5 – $479
- OnePlus 5T – $499
- OnePlus 6 – $529
- OnePlus 6T – $549
The one outlier may be the OnePlus X, which launched in late 2015 for $249. But it was the company’s only real foray into the mid-range space.
All of which is to say, prices have nearly doubled in four years… but the increase has been incremental, and the phones do keep getting better.
It’s unclear at this point whether 5G will justify hiking the price by as much as $300 in one generation. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if OnePlus and other phone makers decide to offer multiple options of their next-gen phones: Qualcomm’s X50 5G modem is separate from the new Snapdragon 855 processor (which has a built-in X24 4G LTE modem). So maybe there will be a cheaper 4G-only version of the OnePlus 7 and a pricier 5G model for early adopters who can’t wait to try out the next-gen wireless networking technology.
I don’t really see a need for 5G on my phone, or even my tablets. I view 5G as being something more for the home, as in cord cutting. This is one time I think Apple’s delay in pushing out a feature is actually a reasonable decision, particularly if the feature impacts battery life significantly.
The iPhone effect has really distorted the market. Instead of the usual downward pressure of having a bunch of manufacturers competing with each other on price, the presence of a very popular premium brand whose owner has no intention of competing on price has pushed prices in the opposite direction as the competition has taken advantage of the additional headroom of Apple’s rising prices, correctly concluding that when it comes smartphones, there are more than enough consumers who value owning a phone with comparable features to the iconic smartphone brand over something with a much lower price.
Given the number of people I know just in my small circle that “couldn’t live” without their smartphone, that trend is unlikely to change. It’s become the one, indispensable device for many people (and certainly they spend enough time on it every day), and when that happens, price sensitivity becomes less of an issue.
Me? Happy to buy the two-year old flagships. My first was an LG G2 for $230 and just recently a Pixel XL for $250. Both refurbished, as-new condition. There are lots of bargains to be had if you don’t need the latest and greatest, and frankly, if you’re willing to take a small chance on a refurbished phone with a short warranty) then you’d do well to buy one over anything you can buy new for less than double the price.
IMO OP7 will be the 4G version, following footprints of current device line, 5G version will be something different.
Here’s how good/much value the devices offered during a brief history of OPO:
1) $349, 2014/04, OnePlus 1, QSD 801, 3GB/64GB, LCD, Plastic
2) $399, 2016/06, OnePlus 3, QSD 820, 6GB/64GB, OLED, Aluminium
3) $479, 2016/11, OnePlus 3t, QSD 821, 6GB/128GB, OLED, Aluminium
4) $539, 2017/05, OnePlus 5, QSD 835, 8GB/128GB, OLED, Anodised Aluminium
6) $559, 2017/12, OnePlus 5t, QSD 835, 8GB/128GB, OLED, Anodised Aluminium
7) $629, 2018/05, OnePlus 6, QSD 845, 8GB/256GB, OLED, Glass
8) $639, 2018/11, OnePlus 6t, QSD 845, 8GB/256GB, OLED, Glass, No Headphone Jack
…see a trend?
OnePlus has been halting the improvements over the years while simultaneously increasing the prices. It has merely been riding the spec-bump wave of the market. So each iteration was worse than the one it replaced, from a value perspective. And things get worse outside the USA, with no control on prices in the grey market.
*5) $389, 2015/08, OnePlus 2, QSD 810, 4GB/64GB, LCD, Plastic
The only outlier is the OnePlus 2 which should be in position #2 but its demoted downwards since it too was plagued with the infamous QSD 810 chipset and the Cyanogen Inc debacle.
You can’t really blame them. They built a following with solid devices and they know the market will pay the increase because it is still cheaper than Samsung and Google phone.
“While that’s not exactly a ridiculous price in today’s smartphone landscape”
This was by far the saddest sentence in the article. When a phone can cost the better part of a thousand dollars and the response is “Well, at least it’s not SUPER expensive”, it’s a sign that things have gone too far.
At least Nokia is starting to give us a little competition in the more reasonably priced segments.
Motorola also has a lot of reasonably priced options. There are very good choices besides Samsung and Apple.
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