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OnePlus Hopes Its New OnePlus 2 Smartphone Adds Up

The Chinese smartphone upstart is back with a beefed-up and slightly pricier new smartphone.


OnePlus, the Chinese upstart that sold more than 1.5 million of its first smartphone, is back with a sequel.

The new device, logically enough called OnePlus 2, adds a faster chip, fingerprint sensor and camera improvements, and will also feature a slightly higher price tag.

In an interview, OnePlus founder Carl Pei says the increase reflects additional component costs, not a shift in strategy. The Snapdragon 810 processor itself is 60 percent more expensive than its predecessor, he said, plus the cost of the fingerprint reader.

“We still want to create the best smartphone possible and sell it at a disruptive price,” Pei said. The base 16 gigabyte version will sell for $329, up from $299, while a 64GB model will sell for $389.

The OnePlus 2 will also feature optional wood and kevlar back panels and will charge via a reversible USB Type-C connector rather than the run of the mill micro-USB charger.

The other big shift is on the software side. While the original model used software from Cyanogen, the new model uses a homegrown custom version of Android, dubbed Oxygen OS. Oxygen is largely stock Android, with just a few twists thrown in by OnePlus. Over time, though, Pei said that the company has ambitions of creating software and services that people will want to pay for — important, given the company’s slim margins on hardware.

As with the OnePlus One, it will take an invitation to get your hands on the new phone, but Pei says the company plans to have 30 to 50 times more than the 1,000 phones it readied for launch last time and also expects to ramp up supplies significantly faster.

OnePlus will debut via an online launch event, but the company plans to have physical locations in eight cities (including New York’s Times Square and a spot in San Francisco) where customers can see and try the device and also get an invite.

One of the biggest complaints about the first OnePlus was how difficult it was to get. Pei said that was less the fault of the invitation-only approach and more due to the fact that the company couldn’t meet demand.

Pei acknowledges that he was caught off guard by demand for the first OnePlus model, noting that he would have seen selling 50,000 phones as a success. As for his goals for the OnePlus 2, Pei says he is declining to make a prediction.

“We’re really, really bad at projections,” Pei said.

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