OnePlus 10th Anniversary: ​​Joining the Cycle, Traveling Through the Cycle, Counter-Cycle

We often use the phrase "like a lifetime ago" to describe how things in the world have changed beyond expectations.

For example, when talking about the mobile phone king in 2013, in addition to iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, LG Optimus G Pro, and even Nokia Lumia 1020 and BlackBerry Z10 are also mentioned.

Many brands were at their peak ten years ago, or their afterglow is still there. Only by enlarging the time dimension to a certain extent can the market fluctuations and brand replacements become clearer. It was also in this year that a new mobile phone brand was born at the end of the year: 2013 On December 17, OnePlus founder Liu Zuohu announced the establishment of OnePlus Technology and officially entered the smartphone industry.

Looking at the handful of mobile phone brands in 2023, and recalling the ups and downs of the brands ten years ago, it will indeed feel like a world away. No brand is always young, but some brands are always young, which is a true portrayal of this industry.

In the past ten years, OnePlus has been involved in the smartphone cycle, traveling through cycles and counter-cycles. This is where the uniqueness of this brand lies.

Product: The confidence to commit to the cycle

OnePlus founder Liu Zuohu previously preferred the position of "chief product manager" rather than founder or CEO. Indeed, for a nascent brand, products are the only thing it can rely on.

Products are what Liu Zuohu is best at, and it is also the most familiar and effective path.

Before founding the OnePlus brand, Liu Zuohu was the head of OPPO's Blu-ray player business. He made this small category number one in consumer satisfaction in the United States, surpassing Denon and Sony, including Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio. ·DiCaprio is a loyal user of OPPO Blu-ray players. Perhaps for this reason, Leonardo DiCaprio later endorsed OPPO's first smartphone.

The Blu-ray player that Pete Lau is responsible for has received quite a lot of praise. Among them, the famous American computer magazine PCMag commented that "Apple does not produce Blu-ray players. Even if it does, we feel that OPPO will still beat Apple in terms of user satisfaction."

In the understanding of Liu Zuohu and OnePlus, products are the unbreakable roadmap. Therefore, many famous scenes about the founder and the brand are related to products.

For many years, Pete Lau has had a habit of stuffing a few prototypes of new mobile phones into his bag when he goes on business trips. During the long journey, I continued to carefully consider the differences in feel brought by different prototypes, and then used them as an important basis for determining the final design.

▲ One plus 1 Babyskin white

"Stands up to scrutiny" is a prelude to "it feels really cool".

When the OnePlus 1 mobile phone was released, Liu Zuohu shouted this ordinary but shocking sentence, "It feels so good."

In addition to using the most powerful Snapdragon 801 chip at the time and being the first to support 3GB of memory and 4G networks, "feel" is another key word for the OnePlus 1 mobile phone.

In the era when plastic casings were dominant, feel and touch were not the focus of everyone's pursuit at that time. At that time, everyone's basic pursuit was to cover the phone.

OnePlus is one of the few brands that has made higher demands.

Although the back shell is both made of plastic, OnePlus uses a special spraying process, of which the Babyskin white version is the most famous. OnePlus extracted a special material from natural cashew nuts and applied it evenly on the back cover in three layers, finally achieving a smooth and delicate touch like baby skin. At the same time, this coating material can also effectively resist sticky sweat stains. , it is also very smooth for long-lasting use.

It can be seen from this detail that OnePlus was very unwilling to be mediocre in the early days of the brand. So we saw the bamboo limited edition of the OnePlus 1 phone, and the further back cover of the OnePlus 2 made of black almond wood, rosewood and aramid fiber.

In 2018, Pete Lau changed his usual casual look and wore a well-tailored suit and a pair of Christian Louboutin white shoes at the OnePlus 6 conference.

This brand, commonly known as "Carrot Ding" in China, has an interesting design. No matter how low-key the shoes look, the soles must be dazzling red.

This kind of dazzling without showing off the edge is the style that Liu Zuohu and OnePlus like.

Just like the old Bentley Continental GT, this is an elegant and powerful sports car. Unlike a sports car with an ostentatious appearance like Lamborghini, the Bentley Continental GT does not appear to have a sense of speed at first glance, unless you sit in and step on it. Throttle it, and it will give you an adrenaline-fueled push-back feeling.

What OnePlus 6 wants to do is also make a mobile phone like this: a "suited thug" who looks like Jason Statham walks out of a Bentley Continental holding a OnePlus phone. People who are unfamiliar with it will see elegance; people who are familiar with it will be afraid of its power.

▲ OnePlus 7 Pro screen parameters

OnePlus 7 Pro explains what "Fast and Smooth" is with "Go Beyond Speed". A 90Hz refresh rate screen rated A+ by the authoritative organization DisplayMate not only opens a new chapter in the speed of OnePlus mobile phones, but also drives This has led to the development of the entire mobile phone and even the entire power consumption industry in the direction of high refresh rate screens.

This time, OnePlus did something that the entire industry had not done.

When the OnePlus 7 Pro project was established, the 90Hz refresh rate screen was just a technical coordinate on Samsung’s display technology roadmap and had not yet been put into production. At this time, the OnePlus team believes that if they want to continue to make further progress in "Fast and Smooth", a high refresh rate screen is imperative and can form a barrier to product competitiveness.

It was precisely because of the product needs of OnePlus 7 Pro that OnePlus decided to customize a 90Hz refresh rate 1440P resolution HDR10+ screen from Samsung Display that did not exist at the time. If it were not for OnePlus’ demand, this screen would probably have been delayed. It took a long time to appear.

When we now play "Honor of Kings" with a frame rate of 120fps and click the high frame rate option on Station B, it actually means that the seeds that OnePlus planted for the industry 4 years ago have blossomed and bear fruit everywhere, and the entire industry has begun to bear fruit. Software, hardware replacement and content supply have quietly undergone tremendous changes.

If you keep thinking about the product, there will be some repercussions.

Those thoughts about "it feels so cool", "suited thugs" and "Fast and Smooth" can still find echoes and evolutions in today's OnePlus.

The soon-to-be-released OnePlus 12 not only has a top-notch domestic screen, but also integrates imaging, performance, and product design. As a gift to everyone for the tenth anniversary of OnePlus, although there is no Pro suffix, the product power surpasses Pro. Liu Zuohu even said in a fireside chat that OnePlus 12 represents OnePlus’ accumulation of flagship product capabilities over the past ten years and is a product that can exceed everyone’s expectations.

It doesn’t matter what it means to go far and take steps a thousand miles, OnePlus’ products are there, its technology accumulation is there, and its route planning is there. These dense coordinate points are connected together, which is the product approach of OnePlus’ products first. OnePlus' product path may be winding, but it continues because the user's requirements are there and user value must be realized. From the very beginning of the establishment of the OnePlus brand, and even before that, it has been rooted in Liu Zuohu’s thinking and emanated from almost all OnePlus products.

This kind of focus on product strength, the pursuit of better user experience, and the return to the simple product approach of user value are more straightforward in OnePlus, which has a clearer and simpler product line. It is also in the noisy world. In the smartphone market, it seems so unique and scarce.

▲ One plus 12

Overseas and users: cyclical choices, countercyclical growth

In the first quarter of 2023, the OnePlus brand ranked first among all brands with a market share growth rate of 210%, and was the only mobile phone brand to achieve triple-digit growth. In the second quarter, the growth rate accelerated, achieving a year-on-year growth of 254%.

Thinking about it from another perspective, this also means that the number of new OnePlus users is growing at a rate of more than 200%, and the volume of "Come on" is unprecedented. However, correspondingly, the sales volume of the entire mobile phone industry is still declining. , even if it is a conservative estimate, the overall probability will drop by about 5%.

After integrating into the OPPO system and expanding offline channel resources, OnePlus, a brand that had previously had great online influence, can also prove its product strength and user appeal offline.

▲ OnePlus Ace 2 Pro Pop-up store event

Ai Faner has participated in many OnePlus pop-up store activities before. The queues of young and energetic OnePlus users to buy phones can be described as twists and turns, and the store can always be surrounded by water.

OnePlus has not only gone through the cycle of smartphones from being in high gear to being washed away by waves, and then being tested in real gold and fire, but it is also using a counter-cyclical approach to rapidly develop new users and inject vitality into the brand.

It can be said that users and products are two sides of a company and a brand.

OnePlus's user story is the same as its product story. It is a long-term story that is continuously updated and superimposed with the keyword "overseas".

Not long after the global release of OnePlus 1, it attracted a large number of overseas geeks, especially employees of Amazon, Facebook and Google, including many Silicon Valley tycoons who are the audience of OnePlus mobile phones, such as Apple’s former founder Steve Wozniak, Paypal co-founder Pete Thiel, and more.

These geek users reconstructed Liu Zuohu's thinking on the relationship between products and users. In an early interview, Liu Zuohu said: Many users are higher than the team, and the relationship with them is not simply about selling products.

Liu Zuohu, who often visits the OnePlus forum, mentioned a user story before. Someone posted on the OnePlus forum that OnePlus phones had a matching resistor problem. After seeing the post, Liu Zuohu asked the R&D person in charge, and the response from the R&D team at the beginning was " "The user is wrong", but as the research deepened, the R&D team finally discovered that they were wrong.

The OnePlus user who pointed out the problem on the forum is an engineer from Google.

It can be said that from the beginning, OnePlus has faced the best and most demanding users in the world. This is both pressure and motivation. Liu Zuohu said a few years ago:

Think about it, facing this group of users, they may be engineers who are much better than you. How to get them to recognize OnePlus is very challenging.

Being born international is a significant and unique label of OnePlus, and it is also one of the reasons that drives OnePlus to make good products. Good products and good users form one and the other, ultimately forming a brand with good reputation.

In the understanding of OnePlus and Liu Zuohu, "good products have no national boundaries."

Since its establishment, OnePlus has established a different kind of connection with users through Pop-up. They began to feel the excitement of global users lining up to buy OnePlus at the same time and in different places around the world. The Pop-up pop-up store model began. It has become a repertoire of OnePlus’ new machine releases.

No matter at home or abroad, there are lines of purchasers stretching hundreds of meters or even longer inside and outside pop-up stores. They have offline popularity and user stickiness as if Apple’s new phone is on sale for the first time. Many users can’t wait to get their hands on OnePlus as soon as possible. New machines.

In 2017, OnePlus released OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T, which generated tens of billions of yuan in revenue throughout the year and achieved sufficient profits, of which overseas sales accounted for 70%. The subsequent OnePlus 7 and 7T series are still selling well. Research organization Counterpoint released a report showing that OnePlus mobile phones ranked among the top four in the global high-end smartphone market share in the third quarter of 2019, second only to Apple, Samsung and Huawei.

During this period of stable product progress, OnePlus’s progress in the global market also complemented each other, and it continued to conquer the high-end market in India, forming a three-strong situation of OnePlus, Apple and Samsung. In more markets, we have established partnerships with e-commerce channels such as Amazon India and T-Mobile operators in the United States to expand shipping channels.

During the growth period of smartphones, OnePlus has adapted to the cycle and achieved very high growth overseas. It has also reshaped the reputation and experience of domestic mobile phone brands overseas to a certain extent.

In the "Kantar BrandZ China's Top 50 Global Brands" list report released regularly every year, OnePlus ranked 8th in the 2022 list and 5th in the consumer electronics category. The overall ranking increased by 1 place compared with 2021. , this is the sixth consecutive year that OnePlus has entered the list, and has ranked in the top 10 for four consecutive years.

Making the best products, reaching the broadest market, and attracting the best users are the logical closed loop formed by OnePlus from the very beginning. These three factors are also what make OnePlus unique enough.

Some of these unique features are explicit, and some are implicit. For example, OnePlus’ overseas achievements and reputation among foreign media are explicit. You don’t need to hold a OnePlus phone to know the uniqueness of OnePlus products. The uniqueness of the product concept requires more real observation and experience. As for the uniqueness of OnePlus users, perhaps Liu Zuohu, who often posts on the OnePlus community forum, has the deepest experience.

Change: Ways to Travel Through Cycles

In a previous interview, Liu Zuohu once said:

In the past, everyone was rushing in. It seemed that every company you could think of was making mobile phones, but many companies were all dead within a year.

Smartphone brands experienced rapid growth before 2015 and rapid decline after 2015. During this period, OnePlus also experienced a period of trough.

Facing the trough, the answer given by OnePlus is simple: return to user value and return to the original intention and essence of making good products.

▲ One plus 3

In 2016, after returning to user value, OnePlus launched the OnePlus 3 mobile phone. It was a rare balance in the mobile phone market at that time. It was satisfactory in terms of design, feel and performance. OnePlus' iconic three-stage switch also Appearing on this phone for the first time, the positioning of “extremely fast flagship” also pointed out the development direction for subsequent OnePlus products.

Many people believe that 2016 is a critical year for OnePlus and the first major change for the OnePlus brand.

A more drastic change for OnePlus occurred in 2021. OnePlus officially announced its integration into the OPPO system. After a year of running-in and sorting out, the relationship between OnePlus and OPPO has gradually become clear: it has formed a dual brand with OPPO, and OnePlus has The focus is online, and the products focus on performance.

After ten years of turmoil in the mobile phone industry, the current competitive landscape has turned into a group army operation. Each front may have to accumulate thousands of people. Key fronts such as imaging and AI may even have thousands of people.
Because of this, the cost of staying at the poker table has become extremely high.

In 2015, when we talked about mobile phone performance, it was just a three-piece performance package of chip + memory + flash memory. Whoever scores higher will have better performance. But when we talk about mobile phone performance in 2023, its connotation will be extremely broad. .

For example, the network experience of a mobile phone is determined by the hardware level of the mobile phone itself and the external network environment. In the past, mobile phone manufacturers would spend their resources on purchasing better basebands, designing better antennas, and improving internal network bandwidth. distribution level, but cannot do anything about the external network environment.

If they want to further improve the mobile network experience, mobile phone manufacturers have to intervene in the external network environment, but this level of investment is not something that small and medium-sized enterprises can afford.

After OnePlus integrates into the OPPO system, it has enough resources to solve problems other than mobile phones. By establishing cloud services and operator network transfer, plus comprehensive network models and calculations on the mobile phone, it improves the mobile network experience and ensures that users Get a refreshing network experience in crowded and weak network environments such as train stations and subways.

For improving the performance of mobile phones, there are many subdivision modules similar to the network experience. Among them are problems that have existed in the past and new problems faced by the development of the industry. For example, whether the compilation and execution logic of the Android system for memory needs to be changed, and Android files Do the system and storage modes need to be changed? OnePlus’s answer is to change.

So we see that with the support of OPPO resources, OnePlus has introduced the memory gene recombination technology first launched on OnePlus 11, and OnePlus 12 dares to shout out the guarantee of no frame drop for 2 hours of heavy gaming.

In addition to the performance track, the imaging track, which is a must-have for military strategists, is where major mobile phone manufacturers gather heavily. If it were in the past, based on the scale of OnePlus, it might strategically give up the first-class competition, such as some games or designs to mobile phones. Like the brand, it weakens the image perception.

▲One plus 12 telephoto sample

But within the OPPO system, the OnePlus 12 can use the same "super light and shadow image engine" developed by OPPO's self-developed Find flagship to obtain flagship-level imaging capabilities.

In addition, OnePlus 12 will also present "Super Light and Shadow ProXDR Display" on the "Oriental Screen" jointly developed with BOE. This is an interesting picture. OnePlus has its own uniqueness and has also obtained OPPO's cutting-edge technical features. support.

Officially, because it has a clear positioning with OPPO, OnePlus will naturally launch dual product lines after 2022 to get involved in the battlefield: In addition to the stable updates of OnePlus flagships, the OnePlus Ace series is unstoppable, priced at 2,000 yuan – 3,000 yuan. It has become a fast new force that no one can ignore, giving OnePlus a more solid support in terms of product line and shipment volume. At the same time, with the help of OPPO's massive and mature offline resources, OnePlus mobile phones have also been successfully placed on the desktops of tens of thousands of OPPO stores, entering offline in a lightweight manner.

▲ OnePlus Ace 2

At the same time, sales news related to the OnePlus Ace series are pouring in this year:

  • On February 13, OnePlus Ace 2 went on sale on JD.com and Tmall dual platforms in 37 minutes, breaking the first-day sales record for all Android phones in the past year.
  • On March 13, OnePlus Ace 2V was officially launched for sale. In just 6 minutes, it ranked second among all models priced at 2,000-3,000 yuan in the past year. The first place was OnePlus Ace 2
  • On August 18, OnePlus Ace 2 Pro pre-sales sold out of 150,000 units in just 26 hours, breaking the pre-sale record for all models in all price segments and all brands throughout 2023

Not everyone can accept changes, whether it is users or opponents, but the fact is here, OnePlus has indeed changed in many places.

If we combine OnePlus' products in the past 10 years, the product rhythm and market strategy are real-time and require adaptability. These changes serve the unchanged product approach.

A lot has changed, but there must be some things that remain unchanged. Just like what Liu Zuohu talked about the most during the night talks around the stove: insisting on making good products, returning to user value and giving priority to product strength.

Through the products, we can also clearly find that OnePlus, a brand that is about to turn 10 years old, has been "not giving in." Just like Liu Zuohu’s final summary in the evening chat around the stove: OnePlus will still be a unique brand in the future, and will not follow, blindly follow, or compromise.

It is the stories and details that emerged during these 10 years that outline an atypical brand in the highly homogenized smartphone industry. OnePlus has contributed scarce diversity to this industry and enhanced the reputation of Chinese brands in overseas markets. Its reputation and reputation, as well as its performance and screen technology, have gathered a lot of industry consensus and promoted the progress of the entire industry.

10 years is long enough for the industry, but it is far from enough for OnePlus.

In the plastic greenhouse of fate, every cabbage that has been sprayed with too many pesticides once had a dream of becoming a pollution-free organic vegetable.

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