What's OnePlus One in Dubai? Dh1,149 and no invite

Starting today (August 9), local retailer Souq.com has begun retailing the Android smartphone “exclusively” in the country. (Supplied)

It’s more than a year late, but Chinese start-up OnePlus has finally launched its OnePlus One smartphone officially in Dubai.

The company is co-founded by former Oppo vice-president Pete Lau, and it unveiled its first device – OnePlus One – in April 2014.

Starting today (August 9), local retailer Souq.com has begun retailing the Android smartphone “exclusively” in the country even as global markets have already received OnePlus Two, the second iteration of the “disruptive” smartphone.

A unique marketing strategy had, until a few months ago, required prospective OnePlus One customers to obtain an invitation before they could purchase it. These invitations were distributed by the company through contests, some of which attracted attention for their unconventional or controversial nature.

As of April 20, 2015, however, the device no longer requires an invite to purchase. And that’s perhaps because the second version of the smartphone was then in works and is now already being retailed in several markets.

We asked Souq.com’s CEO & co-founder Ronaldo Mouchawar why the device took so long in hitting the UAE’s shores. “It is true that the OnePlus Two has been rolled out successfully across many markets. We are anticipating huge success in number of sales for OnePlus One since the device features superior specifications compared to any of the flagship devices in the market at a very convenient price,” he told Emirates 24|7.

Souq.com’s CEO & co-founder Ronaldo Mouchawar

The online retailer has started selling OnePlus One in the UAE from August 9 at Dh1,149 (64GB). Although it claims that the device is being retailed exclusively at Souq.com, we found a number of other retailers including SharafDG.com, JadoPado.com, and CrazyDeals offering the smartphone even as the Souq.com deal was the least expensive.

OnePlus One reportedly sold close to 1 million units in 2014, and the smartphone is now available in the UAE without its ‘invite-only’ purchase restriction, which the firm maintains was initially put in place due to demand far outstripping supply.

The OnePlus One has been described as a “flagship killer”, its prices were set at $299 (Dh1,098) and $349 (Dh1,281) for the 16 GB and 64 GB models, respectively, roughly half the price of the then recently unveiled Samsung Galaxy S5.

When asked when Souq.com planned to launch the latest version, Mouchawar avoided a direct answer, instead saying: “Our focus is to make the launch of OnePlus One successful across our Key markets and provide a wider variety of mobile devices at affordable prices.”

The smartphone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with quad-core CPUs at speeds of up to 2.5GHz per core. The phone boasts of integrated 4G LTE connectivity and 3GB of LP-DDR3 RAM along with a massive 3100 mAh battery.

“We see the flagships from major brands like Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, HTC One M9 and LG G4 as the competitor for the product,” Mouchawar told this website.

“The USP of the device is that it offers all the features and specifications these smartphones have to offer at nearly 60 per cent of their price. At the same time, the company maintains the high quality and standards which a flagship might offer,” he noted.

“OnePlus has significant fan following across the globe. They have been able to create disruption due to their exceptional pricing and Middle East is no different as we have seen in the Google Search trends. The device gives an opportunity for smartphone buyers to experience too end features at a price that is within their budget,” he said.

That said, can the year-old version of the device still be a hit in the UAE, especially in the face of the numerous new launches and price-cuts of existing Android spearheads? Watch this space.

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