Chinese conglomerate BBK owns several smartphone makers in the country, including Iqoo, OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo, and Realme. Android fans in western markets are more than familiar with some of them, with OnePlus easily standing out when it comes to brand recognition.
OnePlus came out swinging a few years ago with its “Never Settle” mantra, launching flagship “killers” that featured impressive specs and excellent prices, albeit plenty of compromises were made to keep costs low. The company has significantly improved its devices over the years, matching the newest Android flagships and offering the same overall experience as its main competitors — that includes features like 5G connectivity, a high-end display, wireless charging, and water and dust resistance. But the prices have gone up as well, with OnePlus launching last year a new set of “killers,” budget Android devices.
Going forward, OnePlus will become an Oppo subsidiary, which is hardly surprising given its history. The move was partially confirmed a few days ago, with a leaked internal document further explaining what the Oppo integration means.
One of the often criticisms that OnePlus saw in the past few years was the resemblance between some Oppo devices and its latest flagship killers. OnePlus often dispelled them, saying that the two separate entities have access to the same supply chain. But that’s changing now that OnePlus will become an official subsidiary of Oppo.
OnePlus CEO Pete Lau said in a forum post a few days ago that OnePlus will “further integrate” with Oppo, an acknowledgment that OnePlus did work together with Oppo in the past:
As many of you know, last year I took on some additional responsibilities to oversee product strategy for both OnePlus and Oppo. Since then, we have integrated a number of our teams together with Oppo to better streamline our operations and capitalize on additional shared resources. After seeing positive impact from those changes, we’ve decided to further integrate our organization with Oppo.
The exec said at the time that OnePlus would continue to operate independently, “focused on providing you with the best possible products and experience as we have always done.”
Evan Blass obtained a leaked OnePlus document that explains the new integration with Oppo. The FAQ document is meant to explain to OnePlus employees what the whole thing means for the future of the company. OnePlus says that working closer with Oppo will allow it to sustain growth and “streamline resources” in the future.
We are at an important turning point for the sustainable growth and development of the OnePlus brand. Further integrating OnePlus together with OPPO will help us to streamline resources, improve efficiencies and together operate as a more capable and innovative global technology company.
When it comes to products, OnePlus and Oppo will continue to operate independently and compete in those markets where there’s overlap. OnePlus hints that the partnership might help keep costs down, thanks to the access to Oppo’s supply chain and R&D and manufacturing resources.
We are confident that this change will be positive for OnePlus users. With the merging of both the firms, we will have more resources at hand to create even better products. It will also allow us to be more efficient in our operations.
OnePlus also said it would continue manufacturing flagship handsets, as well as Nord-branded devices and IoT devices. The Nord line will continue to operate under the OnePlus brand.
Access to Oppo’s full R&D arm might be particularly exciting. The company has shown in previous years a desire to innovate, introducing various technologies that would eventually become available on various Android handsets. Oppo demoed periscope cameras and fast-charging battery tech years before they become common in the industry. Oppo has also shown off its under-display camera tech a few years ago. More recently, Oppo demoed long-distance wireless charging and a phone with a rollable display.