We Were Wrong: OnePlus Becoming The Western OPPO Is Great

We Were Wrong: OnePlus Becoming The Western OPPO Is Great
oneplus open main display pro xdr

Ryan Haines/Android Authority

OnePlus opens

Over the past few years, there has been a lot of criticism of the close relationship between OPPO and OnePlus (I have my own opinions too). However, the OnePlus Open, produced primarily by OPPO, reveals the exciting future potential of the co-brand. While that's true, OnePlus is undermining OPPO's devices, effectively becoming the OPPO of the West (or US), so to speak, which it needs to do to get back out there. Trust me, it's not a bad comment.

One thing we've learned about the OP-Plus in 2023 is that OPPO knows how to make a great device. The cover of the second generation Find N3 Flip is beautifully designed, just like its predecessor. We have nothing but good things to say about the hardware aspects of the OnePlus Open (aka OPPO Find N3). In fact, our review called it "the best device we've seen from OnePlus since its true flagship." That's a double-edged statement when you consider who makes these phones.

OPPO devices stand out as some of the best in the industry.

Likewise, the Find X6 Pro, while unfortunately limited to certain regions, is a remarkable device. This would probably be my phone of the year if I could buy it without the import warning. But the Chinese model he used also left indelible memories. The design and camera are superior to others. The same can't be said for OnePlus flagships over the years, with the 10 and 11 series continuing the trend of modest compromises.

But the opening gives me reason for optimism. If the upcoming OnePlus 12 is 80% better than the brand's last powerful model, it will be hard to ignore. The usual glasses are there; It all depends on performance and openness.

OPPO understands hardware, OnePlus understands the US

OPPO Find N3 Flip homescreen semi folded

Robert Triggs/Android Authority

Despite its impressive hardware, OPPO has often struggled to stand out in some Western markets, particularly the US. This is likely due to brand recognition and softening of the Apple/Samsung dynamic. This is partly due to the global software options not being up to par yet. (There are also some patent issues that have not yet been resolved.) But perhaps even more important are distribution channels, which are often difficult for operators and retailers to understand. This is one area where OnePlus has more experience than OPPO, and this partnership could shine.

The brand is still affiliated with BestBuy, where you can buy the OnePlus 11. You won't find OnePlus phones on Verizon anymore (I was able to buy the OnePlus 9), and T-Mobile's options are few and far between. But OnePlus could reopen its doors if its new devices are successful. Premium phones like the Open are more likely to attract the attention of retailers, especially in the US, than flagship or mid-range models. In comparison, OPPO's lack of presence in the US makes it an uphill battle to convince major retailers to stock its phones.

If using the OnePlus name is what it takes to get more OPPO devices, I'm all for it.

In its heyday, OnePlus carved a niche for itself with its "Never Settle" approach to software, though that's weakened in the latest versions of OxygenOS. It's more likely that OnePlus will apply an American touch to its software instead of renaming and reusing features like Open Canvas, O Relax and Zen Space. Closer collaboration with OPPO's ColorOS is needed, however, as resources are now in place to ensure Open receives four highly competitive OS updates and security patches over five years. This is the key to winning when competing with Apple and Samsung.

And let's not forget the support structure needed to satisfy high-end phone buyers, which covers everything from warranty claims to replacing old batteries. OnePlus already has a strong base in the US and other western markets, while OPPO will have to invest heavily and start from scratch in many countries if it wants to push its brand forward.

If using the OnePlus name is what it takes to get more OPPO devices, I'm all for it.

The relationship still needs to be repaired

OnePlus 11 With Oxygen OS 14 Beta About Phone Hero

C. Scott Brown/Android Authority

Synchronization of the left and right hands is an ongoing issue for organizations operating at this level, and OP-Plus already has room for better coordination. Consider the fact that Open supports OPPO styluses but not OnePlus; Negligence is an understatement. Likewise, we've seen OPPO make and then cancel its partnership with Hasselblad and offer its best camera technology to find Western players.

However, it wouldn't make sense for OnePlus to be anything more than a rebrand of OPPO for the Western market. There is a subtle but important difference between customizing a product for your target market and being a white label manufacturer. OnePlus has a rich heritage of doing things differently, innovating features and outperforming the competition, all of which are recipes for success. Over the years, the story has been marred by mediocre devices that OPPO could clearly improve upon. However, OPPO's insistence on launching additional app stores and refined features in a market that caters to the Apple and Google ecosystems must also be balanced by brands that better understand these consumers.

Putting its unique stamp on OPPO's amazing devices, OnePlus is the best of both worlds. With the OnePlus Open, we saw great potential. Now let's see if lightning can strike twice in next year's phones.

Moving to GrapheneOS, after a month.

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