OnePlus wants to price the 64GB One under Rs 25,000 in India

NEW DELHI: OnePlus, the China-headquartered startup behind the much talked about, 'flagship-killer,' One smartphone, wants to sell the 64GB variant of the phone at under Rs 25,000, when it launches in India in the coming months.

OnePlus One sports top-of-the-line hardware specifications including a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB RAM, a 5.5-inch 1080P display, 13MP camera with F2.0 aperture and Sony image sensor, 5MP front camera, 3100mAh battery, 4G-support and NFC. The 64GB version of the phone sells at $350 in the US. The company is able to achieve this pricing by cutting distribution and marketing costs. Currently, it earns little or no money from the hardware but it aims to change that as volumes grow.

Speaking to TOI Tech, Carl Pei, director, OnePlus global, said that the company decided to explore the Indian market after seeing a high degree of interest from customers in India which was not among the company's launch markets. "The interest not only reflects in terms of traffic to the OnePlus website but also in billing addresses of people buying the phone. Indian customers use trans-shipment services to get their hands on the phone but the billing address is in India," he said.

The company wants to replicate its global sales model in India and price the 64GB version of the phone under Rs 25,000. It is also introspecting whether it should launch the 16GB version of the phone in India.

OnePlus is currently looking for a general manager to lead its Indian operations and is also in talks with leading online retailers for an exclusive partnership to make the OnePlus available in the Indian market.

According to Pei, it would be the first time that the company will launch operations with a local team, as it feels that India is a sufficiently big and different market. After sales service would be a major focus area for OnePlus in India and the company wants to make sure it covers all bases before going ahead with a final launch.

"It's really hard for us to give an exact time frame for the launch. It's more important for us to do things right than doing it quick. We're going to take the market and not leave it in the middle. Indian consumers value customers service support more than others and we want to make sure we get everything in place before announcing the launch," Pei reiterated.

At the moment, OnePlus has an invite-only system in place for buying the phone. Existing buyers can share invites with their friends while new ones can request for the invite via the OnePlus website or buy participating in contests and give-aways. Pei informed that the company will continue with invite-only system even as it plans to introduce pre-orders after October. Potential customers will then have an option to preorder the phone and wait in queue or get an invite and cut the queue. He clarified that OnePlus does not plan to do away with the invite-only system, as reported by some online publications.

OnePlus has also setup its own software team although it will continue to work with Cyanogen. The company currently offers OnePlus One in CyanogenMod and Color OS software flavours (both based on Android). The Color OS variant is sold in China due to its support for Chinese input and customization options. It's likely that the OnePlus Two, which is set to arrive in the second quarter of 2015, will run the company's own flavourr of Android.

OnePlus is currently focusing only on high-end smartphones and does not intend to explore other smart device segments at least for another year.

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