OnePlus One Contract-Free Smartphone Now Available Without Invite

Cell Phones, Utilities
OnePlus One Contract-Free Smartphone Now Available Without Invite

The OnePlus One, a lower-priced, contract-free smartphone with specs that match its more expensive rivals, is now available without an invitation.

“We have always wanted to put great products into the hands of more people,” the Chinese company said in a blog post Monday. “And, we now feel confident that we have matured enough to handle the increased complexity that comes along with opening up sales completely.”

Introduced a year ago this week, the OnePlus One sells for $299 for the 16GB version and $349 for a souped-up 64GB model. It runs a version of Google’s Android operating system.

The OnePlus One has a  5.5-inch display screen, 13-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front-facing camera, along with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Those are the kind of specs you’d find on a high-end Android phone from the likes of Samsung or HTC, and for which you’d generally need a service contract with a mobile carrier to get a similar price.

OnePlus says it has sold more than 1 million of the phones using an invite-only sales model designed to let the company more closely manage the cost of inventory.

In February, the company began offering unlimited sales on Tuesdays, while the other six days of the week remained invite-only.

“Our invite system has been a fascinating, evolving experiment,” the company said in the blog post. “Within the community, feelings towards our invite system vary, and we understand that. The reality is that we wouldn’t be where we are today without it.”

Of course, a year can be an entire life cycle in the fast-moving world of mobile electronics. The OnePlus 2 is expected to debut later this year.

And, yes, there will initially be an invite list to get one.

“The OnePlus 2 will bring the challenges that come along with a brand new product, and initially, our invite system will help us to manage that risk,” Monday’s post says. “It also helps us to be sure that every OnePlus 2 user gets the amazing experience that they deserve.”

In conjunction with Monday’s release, OnePlus also announced a 24-hour sale on some accessories. OnePlus Flip Covers and Premium Screen protectors were available at a 75% discount.

Doug Gross is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter @doug_gross and on Google+.


Image via OnePlus.