OnePlus 7 Pro set to challenge top rivals in premium segment

April 25, 2019 13:40
OnePlus ranked fifth among the top-selling brands in the premium smartphone market for 2018. Photo: AFP

On May 14 OnePlus will host three simultaneous events in three cities: New York City, London, and Bangalore, during which it is expected to launch its latest flagship smartphone series.

The new series will come with three models, OnePlus 7, OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7 Pro 5G. Although the phones have yet to be unveiled, their hardware specifications are already being discussed in many industry forums.

Both OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro, along with the 5G version, will run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. The RAM could start at 8 gigabytes and may go up to 10 GB.

The camera system could be the main differentiator between OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro. OnePlus 7 Pro is said to have a triple camera system just like Samsung Galaxy S10, Xiaomi Mi 9 and Huawei P30 Pro.

The triple camera system includes a 48-megapixel main camera, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera with 3x zoom. In order to have a big screen, OnePlus 7 Pro is equipped with a pop-up front camera – no hole on the screen.

These specifications may not be attractive enough to convince consumers to upgrade. But OnePlus founder and chief executive Pete Lau has boasted about the new screen technology for OnePlus 7 Pro.

“Our new product will utilize all-new display technology. We have invested significantly (technology is 3 times cost of other flagship displays) in developing the technology just for OnePlus, a flagship screen experience that is truly best in the world,” Lau wrote on his social media platform.

In fact, the Shenzhen-based company has invested more than 100 million yuan (US$14.86 million) in the display technology together with Samsung.

According to some media reports, OnePlus 7 Pro will offer a 6.7-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED display with a high refresh rate of 90Hz. A high refresh rate screen means a much clearer picture on the screen, which is crucial for mobile game players as the picture can respond quickly and cope with the speed of the game.

This suggests that OnePlus 7 Pro is being positioned as a mobile game smartphone in a bid to lure mobile gamers, who are willing to pay for the hardware for the best gaming experience at a higher cost.

OnePlus owes much of its success to its simple and neat product line. It launches just one or two flagship models each year, allowing it to focus on making the best products for its customers.

That is similar to Apple's business model, which involves launching a series of iPhones each year.

OnePlus may not want to compete with Huawei, Xiaomi and Samsung in terms of the number of models launched each year, but its focus on product quality should put it in line with Apple.

In fact, OnePlus wants to position itself as a “flagship killer” in the crowded smartphone market. Through the years, OnePlus smartphones, which are focused on the premium segment, are getting better and better in terms of design and hardware performance.

Its camera and simple user interface have earned plaudits from the most discriminating users, including those in the United States.

OnePlus ranked fifth among the top-selling brands in the premium smartphone market for 2018, according to Counterpoint Research’s market monitor service. The ranking is based on the shipment of smartphones priced above US$400.

The top five brands accounted for “almost 90 percent of shipments” and this segment constituted one-fourth of total global smartphone shipments worldwide, Counterpoint Research said.

OnePlus was doing well in India, making it the top premium smartphone maker by market share. In the United States, the company was also among the top five in the same segment, and the only Chinese manufacturer in the group.

Both achievements are based on the success of the company’s flagship model last year, the OnePlus 6T.

With the improved hardware specifications and competitive pricing of the OnePlus 7 Pro, the Chinese firm is expected to grab more market share from rivals in the premium segment.

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EJ Insight writer