Interview with Tuomas lamps from Oneplus: This is important in 2021

In 2020 there was a slump in sales on the smartphone market due to the corona pandemic. Was Oneplus badly affected?

No, I wouldn’t say that. In fact, 2020 was the best year so far in Europe. We launched our Nord range. That was a big step for us. At the same time, our top model, the 8 Pro, was very successful.

So the market is recovering quickly?

I think the pandemic will give people more time and also spend more time with their smartphones. Use increased significantly in 2020, especially among young people. We can’t meet, but we still stay connected. Many will now be inclined to switch to more modern equipment and invest in better technology. Anyone who previously had an entry-level smartphone may even choose a premium device. This will also make 5G more popular.

How important is 5G for Oneplus?

5G is a central element of our product strategy. We have been focusing on the topic since 2016 and are increasingly working on it with our partner Qualcomm. In 2019 we released our first 5G smartphone, and now almost all of our devices are 5G-capable. In Europe, we also maintain a lively exchange with network operators such as Deutsche Telekom, also to test together. We also develop application scenarios based on our customers’ daily usage habits.

Do you think that 5G is also relevant for entry-level smartphones?

Definitely! If there aren’t enough 5G devices, no one will create applications for them. At the beginning we need a certain market penetration with devices of different price segments so that there are apps and services that actually benefit from the technology. In addition to the high speed with 5G, the low latencies are particularly exciting. This becomes important with video calls, live streaming of sports events or VR games.

In addition to 5G, which features are Oneplus still focusing on?

A recent study we carried out found that a quarter of German users are afraid of an empty battery. We address such concerns when developing new devices. So we try to shorten the charging times or to install larger batteries without losing weight. In recent years we have also advanced the display technology of our devices. A fast refresh rate like 90 or 120 Hertz are now often the standard. The aim is to bring 90 Hz and fast charging to cheaper devices in order to improve the user experience there too.

At the beginning of the year it was announced that Oneplus and Oppo were merging the development departments. Why this?

We are in the process of bundling development capacities with our long-term investor Oplus *. This is how we maximize resources, and every brand also benefits from this in terms of costs. Of course, As a company, Oneplus continues to operate independently with its own marketing or development.

What strategy is Oneplus pursuing for 2021?

Oneplus has served a niche for a long time because for years we only had high-end smartphones in our portfolio. Of course we can use the best of the best there. But not everyone can afford a high-end device. The market for less than 500 and 300 euros is much larger, and our community also wanted to see cheaper devices. Our philosophy is “Never settle”, always improving. With high-performance, affordable chipsets, we can now meet our quality requirements in the lower price segment. With the Oneplus Nord and Nord N10, we introduced two mid-range smartphones last year. We will continue this strategy in 2021 and complete our product lineup.

How does Oneplus want to stand out from the competition?

The user experience is the most important. Regardless of whether it is a high-end or mid-range smartphone. We are in close contact with our user community and receive excellent feedback that helps us with product development. In this way we try to address precisely those problem areas that are important to users in this price segment. For example, a system that can still be operated smoothly even years later. That you always have enough memory or that the battery has a long service life. In addition, buyers in the middle class expect a camera system with multiple lenses and good quality. I think we are doing well in implementing these things.

* Editor’s note: Oplus is the main shareholder in Oppo, Realme and Oneplus. The chairman is Pete Lau, who also holds the CEO position at Oneplus.

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