OnePlus is in a transition phase.
The Chinese company lost its co-founder Carl Pei in 2020 and went through a tumultuous merger with Oppo last year. No one outside of the company knows what OnePlus’ future will hold, but its latest smartphone, the OnePlus 10 Pro, seems to hint at what this new OnePlus era will be like.
OnePlus is part of a large conglomerate of smartphone companies under the BBK umbrella. Much like General Motors runs a number of car companies, all BBK brands choose from the same parts bin and make similar products, but they target different markets. OnePlus’ BBK sister companies, Oppo, Vivo, and Realme, are focused on China, and iQOO is focused on India. OnePlus was the western-oriented wing of BBK. The launch countries for the OnePlus One were the US and Europe, which made a lot of sense. The three largest smartphone markets are – in this order – China, India and the USA.
Now that the Oppo merger is happening, it’s hard to tell that OnePlus is still focused on the West. The OnePlus 10 Pro debuted in China three months ago and is only now coming to US shores. Even after this delay, the device will not be released in the US with all of its features intact.
OnePlus primarily differentiates itself from the competition with “Warp Charge”, the company’s fast charging technology. The OnePlus 10 Pro improves on this technology by bringing 80W Warp Charging. But OnePlus hasn’t made a new 80W Warp charger for the US market, so US customers will have to settle for last year’s charger, which is only 65W. Nothing prevents OnePlus from making an 80W charger that will work with the 120V US power system; the company just didn’t do it.
|SPECS AT A GLANCE: OnePlus 10 Pro|
|SCREEN||6.7 inch, 3216×1440 OLED, 120Hz|
|operating system||Android 12 with Oxygen OS skin|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1|
|NETWORKING||WLAN 6, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, NFC,|
|REAR CAMERA||48MP main
8MP 3.3x telephoto lens
50MP wide angle
|ADDITIONAL ADVANTAGES||65W fast charging, wireless charging, in-display optical fingerprint sensor|
BBK already has three other China-facing brands, so OnePlus’ prioritization for China could signal some withdrawal from the US market. The Oppo merger also feels like a refutation of the original OnePlus strategy. OnePlus was once important enough to be an independent company under BBK, and now it’s not.
The merger of OnePlus and Oppo makes for an awkward and unclear future for OnePlus’ software as well. OnePlus and Oppo each have their own Android skins. OnePlus traditionally sticks closely to Android’s standard design while adding additional features (although the company has moved away from that strategy over time). Like many Chinese Android skins, Oppo’s Color OS revolves around Apple envy and looks like a fake version of iOS.
In July 2021, OnePlus and Oppo announced this merge their contrasting Android skins and said the move would help companies produce faster updates. In December 2021, we got our first glimpse of this unified direction with the Android 12 update for the OnePlus 9, and it was kind of a disaster. Just last month, Oppo and OnePlus announced that the software merger had been cancelled.
So no, OnePlus didn’t develop the 10 Pro’s software in a month; it was mostly created according to the old plan. No one knows what the Android 13 update schedule will be for this phone, but you’ll get three years of major software updates. Blowing up their software department and then trying to rebuild them a month before a device launches is disruptive, and I can’t say I expect major updates to go smoothly while OnePlus figures out what its software looks like target.
In this regard, we bring you our OnePlus 10 Pro review. The annual smartphone update cycle doesn’t last for anyone, even if your business is in the midst of a full restart.