OnePlus, the company that started with a motto of “Never Settle”, has developed a solid reputation as a maker of affordable yet powerful flagship devices. However, over the years, the company’s approach kept changing and shifting more towards the mainstream.
And now, OnePlus could be undergoing the biggest change since its formation by announcing its new journey of “further integrating” with fellow Chinese smartphone manufacturer OPPO.
Questions abound about what the merger means and what possible changes it could bring to the company. Let’s find out.
What Does the OnePlus and OPPO Merger Mean?
Recently, OnePlus announced that it will merge many of its teams with OPPO to offer better products to its customers. In 2020, the company’s CEO Pete Lau had taken up additional responsibilities to oversee products both at OnePlus and OPPO, a move which saw a few of their teams becoming integrated.
Seeing the positive impacts, the two companies have now decided to further merge their teams.
Along with the integration of teams, the companies will see sharing of resources as you would expect in a merger. With more resources in hand, OnePlus aims to provide better and faster software updates for its customers.
That said, OnePlus assures that it will continue to operate independently from OPPO, so you can expect the company to continue releasing its individual product lineup.
The OnePlus and OPPO Merger Isn’t Really Surprising
OnePlus and OPPO are both owned by BBK Electronics, a Chinese Multinational that has other smartphone brands like Realme, Vivo, and iQOO under its wing as well.
Considering how closely the two companies have been connected, the decision to integrate doesn’t seem surprising. The target markets and channel strategies of the companies may indeed differ, but ultimately, the products are often too similar.
While the designs of the phones were often identical, the two companies also tend to use the same fast 65W fast charging technology. So, OnePlus has always been associated with OPPO behind the scenes. The biggest change here is that OnePlus is making this explicit now, resulting in a tighter partnership between the two brands.
The Potential Outcomes of the OnePlus and OPPO Merger
In its announcement, OnePlus revealed very few details about the integration that included the brand’s vision, sharing of resources with OPPO, and better software experience.
As most of the bits remain unclear and left open to interpretation, here are some possible changes the merger might bring to OnePlus.
1. Faster and Stable Software Updates
One of the key reasons to stay positive about the merger is that you could expect faster and more frequent updates from OnePlus. The company was known for its quick software updates when its phones first hit the market, but in recent years OnePlus users have been complaining about the lag in this aspect.
According to a recent post on the OnePlus forums, the company has announced its improved software updates schedule for all its smartphones including the flagship devices and the budget-oriented Nord devices.
So this move would be a welcomed improvement as it would improve the company’s efficiency in providing a better software experience to its customers.
2. Product Innovation and Improvements
OPPO is one of the most technologically advanced companies and has introduced many innovative products over the years such as its recent OPPO X 2021 rollable phone.
With the integration, greater access to resources could lead to more innovative devices from OnePlus as well. Also, the company’s product portfolio has been growing in recent years, so additional resources should prove helpful.
Since its inception, a challenge that OnePlus has faced is with the quality of cameras on its devices. The cameras on OnePlus devices have always been good but not great enough despite the company’s efforts.
The company’s latest flagship device, the OnePlus 9 Pro did offer excellent camera specs made in partnership with Hasselblad, but still fell short in a few segments such as low-light photography. As a result of the integration, the company will probably be able to fix this issue and reach the performance level of flagships in terms of cameras.
3. Wider Availability of Devices
Both OPPO and OnePlus have a sizable footprint in tons of smartphone markets around the world. With the integration, you could expect both the companies to establish their presence in newer markets with lesser effort.
Further, OnePlus is more popular in the western markets while OPPO has a much stronger foothold in China. The merger could result in both the companies gaining a stronger position in the markets where they currently have a weak presence.
In markets like India, the companies have avoided entering each other’s price range. With the partnership, we might see more offerings spanning a wide price range, from premium to affordable.
4. More Similar Devices
Despite the benefits of this integration, there are some potential downsides as well.
A leaked memo published by @evleaks reveals OnePlus being a brand within OPPO but will continue to operate as an independent entity. This partnership looks similar to brands under Xiaomi, such as the Redmi and Pocophone.
As mentioned before, the two companies have shared similar designs and technologies, but that could become more frequent under this new structure. It would be disappointing to see fewer original designs from OnePlus and could affect the brand moving forward.
5. Is It the End of OxygenOS?
OxygenOS has been one of the prominent features of OnePlus. Its sleek design, speed of operation, and near-stock experience made it a hit among OnePlus users. However, over the last few years, OxygenOS has slowed down with few new features and questionable user interface choices.
At present, OnePlus and OPPO are working on integrating the codebase of OxygenOS with OPPO’s ColorOS to offer a better software experience. As ColorOS is substantially different from OxygenOS, what effect the merger has on the latter remains to be seen.
While OnePlus phones already run on ColorOS in China, the company assures OxygenOS to be a driving force for its global devices. However, as both companies have integrated now, the fact that OxygenOS might take more hints from ColorOS in the near future can’t be entirely ruled out.
The Challenges Ahead for OnePlus
Over the years, OnePlus has consistently offered premium quality products with high-end specifications at competitive prices, which has helped the company become a global brand. As a result of the merger, however, there are concerns about how the brand will maintain its hard-earned reputation over time.
With OPPO backing it up, OnePlus could solidify its position in the smartphone market stronger than ever.
However, in the process, the company losing its unique identity and becoming just “another Chinese smartphone maker” would be a huge disappointment. Well, the company’s next line of flagship devices will reveal whether OnePlus has managed to emerge as a well-resourced brand or has lost its way in the process.