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article imageOnePlus 5T launch overshadowed by allegations of 'faking it'

By James Walker     Nov 17, 2017 in Technology
OnePlus launched its latest flagship yesterday, the 6-inch 5T equipped with high-end specs for only $499. The release has proved more controversial than previous OnePlus devices as fans are increasingly discontented with the firm's lack of innovation.
OnePlus has built its brand around the concept of offering phones with flagship specs at prices far below its competitors. It's largely evaded questions of how this is possible, maintaining a loyal following of power users and tech enthusiasts sold on its high-performance phones with near-stock Android.
The 5T hasn't received quite the same reception. Coming just five months after the OnePlus 5, some fans are unhappy at OnePlus' decision to launch a successor so soon. There are other grumblings, particularly around OnePlus' increasingly controversial marketing practices.
The OnePlus 5T is actually a rebranded Oppo R11s. This is because, contrary to its outward appearance, OnePlus is a subsidiary of Chinese tech giant BBK Electronics. Since its launch, OnePlus has tried to promote itself as a startup company trying to carve out a niche in the market through first-party innovation and unique designs.
OnePlus 5T
OnePlus 5T
OnePlus
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The lack of distinguishing features between the 5T and Oppo R11s hasn't worked out in OnePlus' favour. Fans have started calling time on the brand, which has faced calls to "stop faking it" by rebranding old phones from its parent company. The same strategy was used for the OnePlus 5, essentially a rebadged Oppo R11 which OnePlus marketing materials suggested had been engineered from scratch.
BBK Electronics owns Chinese smartphone vendors Vivo, Oppo and OnePlus. Together, they dominate vast swathes of the Asian mobile market. BBK Electronics apparently started OnePlus as a way to enter Western markets with a new and modern brand aimed at technically savvy users.
Publicly, OnePlus has never acknowledged its real ties to its parent, instead claiming to be created by industry veterans looking to make an impact of their own. It's an image that permeated the 5T's launch event yesterday, something fans had to pay $40 to attend. OnePlus Founder and CEO Pete Lau – formerly of Oppo – said the company has "refined every last detail" of the device, but it's really just modified an older handset manufactured by its sister firm.
Retailing at $449 in the U.S., the OnePlus 5T still has value on its side. With a 6-inch AMOLED display, 8GB of RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 underneath, the phone doesn't suffer performance-wise from its hidden credentials. OnePlus' slogan of "Never Settle" seems to be losing its shine though – fans aren't so settled, and BBK Electronics might need to reconsider the future of the brand.
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