For smartphone enthusiasts, the year 2016 begun on a slow note but ended with a bang. As for 2017, the opposite seems to be brewing up with the smartphone world set to get lively once again.
Many have complained that smartphone OEMs have grown into something boring as no company has been bold enough to come in with one-of-a-kind smartphones. LG tried it with the LG G5’s modularity, but this wasn’t just there. There is no doubt that Samsung nailed it with the Galaxy S7 Edge, but the huge price slammed on the phone makes it a no-go zone for many out there.
Sony came in with a small game of letters, switching from Xperia Z to Xperia X, but there was little to smile about as far as the pricey X Performance and even the Xperia XZ are concerned. Motorola took the same direction with this letter game, switching from the previous year’s Moto X to the new Moto Z, but apart from the modularity, there was nothing unique with this phone. Google entered the smartphone world with a bang and unveiled the Pixel and Pixel XL. While the two are fantastic phones, there’s not much around them that justifies their price tags – and the list goes on. Enter OnePlus 3/3T.
OnePlus 3 was released in June 2016 and immediately took the smartphone world by storm thanks to its impressive design, powerful hardware specs and most of all, very affordable price when compared to other flagships. A few months later, the Chinese OEM followed this OnePlus 3 with an enhanced version by the name OnePlus 3T.
Priced at just $439, the OnePlus 3T has turned out to be one of the best, if not the best smartphone of 2016. The question here is will the upcoming OnePlus 5 (OnePlus 4 may be skipped due to China’s beliefs regarding the number four) succeed the OnePlus 3T in style and keep the latter’s crown as the best smartphone in 2017?
Given the young status of the company and the direction of the smartphone industry, it is indeed going to be a tough year for OnePlus. From what it is, many OEMs are taking this year more serious than ever. Samsung’s issues with the Galaxy Note 7 have meant the tech giant increases its efforts with respect to ensuring they deliver the best-ever Galaxy S8. LG’s failures with the G5 and even the V series will also mean the upcoming LG G6 delivers the best. Xiaomi already started showing the world what it’s capable of towards the end of last year thanks to the launch of the Mi MIX and the Mi Note 2 – it won’t be taking the foot off the gas this year.
While the OnePlus 3 and 3T handsets succeeded out of the facts that they came in with high-end hardware specs that are housed in a nice piece of metallic casing and priced cheaply, the year 2017 is something else. Many people want to buy a phone that gives them something different from the rest. Just recently, ASUS launched the ZenFone AR. This phone is unique with AR and VR capabilities and it shows just how much OEMs are willing to push with innovation. Smartphone users want to see more of AI and VR stuff, a device that is actually flexible, throw in some modularity, a clean software experience, and lots of other interesting stuff while keeping the price reasonable – things that OnePlus’ financial power might not allow them to achieve at this point in time.
Of course, it is early to write off this year’s OnePlus 5, but many will still be interested to know if the phone will be able to compete among the best not just because of its price, but also because of what it offers. This time, throwing in things like 8GB RAM, QHD display or maybe 256GB of storage might not work, even if the phone is still cheap. What OnePlus needs to turn to is innovation, just like Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi and even ASUS are already doing with their 2017 smartphones, otherwise, this year might prove to be a tough one for the Chinese company.
What do you think about OnePlus and the upcoming OnePlus 5 smartphone? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.