OnePlus

OnePlus is expected to launch a new budget phone called the OnePlus Nord on 10th of July. On the surface, this sounds like a typical tidbit of news from the telephone industry that is not worth much thought. But the Chinese phone maker is spending too much energy to fuel the hype surrounding a phone under $ 500 that will currently only be available in the UK and India.

For example, it created not one but two Instagram accounts for it – one possibly prematurely for the name "Lite Z Thing" and one for the apparently official "Nord" code name. A four-part series on the development of the telephone is also published on YouTube. You can see the first 10 minute episode below.

There is nothing wrong with trying to promote your product, and OnePlus is no stranger to unorthodox tactics. When it started, the company was had an invitation-only system for customers to buy their phonesand set up pop-up stores in key markets. What's even more uncomfortable is that OnePlus started a campaign in 2014 and then ended it quickly, encouraging women to send photos of themselves for a free OnePlus One phone. Not for nothing, but OnePlus has not sneaked into the crowded phone industry, where Apple and Samsung run it all by romping around with loud advertising campaigns.

However, the decision to let cameras follow the top managers, department heads and employees in the development of the OnePlus Nord is strange. About six minutes after the video started, there was a tense argument between two employees. In the end, Carl Pei, co-founder of OnePlus, complains that his employees are sitting at their computers during a meeting and later punished for being on his phone. It's a borderline reality TV spectacle that's interesting (I'll definitely watch the next episode), but is still bizarre to expose potential customers.

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A still from the first episode. High drama!

OnePlus / screenshot by Lynn La / CNET

Even if they don't comply with Apple's secrecy, companies like Samsung and Google wouldn't allow such an intimate look. And there is also a good reason. While I don't doubt there are so many, if not more, disputes and disagreements in these companies, as a potential buyer, you might consider this to be somewhat unprofessional and inappropriate. It's like seeing parents-in-law fighting at the dining table – it happens and there's nothing too harmful about it, I just don't want to be there when it goes down.

Maybe it's OnePlus' way of looking authentic and raw, but you can never really be authentic when cameras roll, and it's strange to think of technical people, designers, and engineers who probably aren't media-trained and it unknowingly banging an audience forward. It is also important to remember that OnePlus produces this series so that everyone, especially the managers, has to appear in a positive light overall.

What about the overwhelming feeling of pressure and urgency? I know it's great drama and television, but all the intense talk about meeting the deadline is exhausting and ultimately self-imposed. OnePlus has decided to launch this product now, and it is one where people end up spending their own money to buy it. Even if the whole process is rushed, you certainly don't want to tell your consumers that this phone was put together quickly.

It is the borderline spectrum of reality television that is interesting but still bizarre to expose viewers.

Again, the frenzied pace of the video can have a dramatic effect – especially when you consider that the video ends with a cliffhanger-like confirmation of the video COVID-19 Outbreak. And I'm sure that everything will be solved in the fourth episode. But I don't know what is the point of letting people into the drama at work that has evolved during the development of the phone. People rarely want to see how the sausage is made because, frankly, knowing that is uncomfortable. And the only thing worse than the office fight is watching the office fight in another company that I don't even work for.

At one point in the video, a designer, Matthias Czaja, says that the visual identity of OnePlus Nord should be "very clean and calm …". Given what the first episode has shown so far, the process is anything but. Still, I'll still watch because why not? (And spoiler alert! The phone is being made because pre-orders are already active – despite the fact that Specifications have not yet been released.)

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