- OnePlus has explained why the Nord won’t be coming to the US.
- The firm’s Carl Pei says it’s focused on markets where it knows the product will succeed.
The OnePlus Nord is scheduled to launch later this month, but it won’t be coming to the US. The manufacturer previously confirmed that it’s only offering proper launches in Europe and India. Now, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has explained the firm’s reasoning in an interview with Android Authority.
“So if you look at our markets right now, like in India, we’re already doing really well and in Europe we’re growing really quickly with the channel expansion we’re doing there, so it makes sense to focus on those markets where we know for sure that this product is going to be a success,” Pei stated.
This sounds an awful lot like OnePlus thinks the Nord — which we got a sneak peek at earlier today — might not do well in North America. And to be fair, mid-range phones haven’t traditionally been big sellers in the market.
The right move for OnePlus?
Canalys analyst Mo Jia told Android Authority that the $300 to $500 tier has been flat in the US, accounting for 10% market share in Q1 2020. Furthermore, Jia says that the $200 to $600 tier at large actually saw a decrease in market share, from 23% in Q1 2019 to 19% in Q1 2020.
In other words, the mid-range segment is dwarfed by low-end and premium smartphones in the US. But today’s economic climate has the potential to change things in a big way.
A Counterpoint Research survey found that over half of all US consumers will cut their smartphone purchase budget in the wake of COVID-19. In fact, 24% of US respondents said they planned to cut their budget for a future purchase by 20% or more.
This suggests that there hasn’t been a better time to launch a more affordable OnePlus phone in the US. The Canalys representative agrees, noting that a “well-positioned mid-ranger” could be ideal as flagship spending drops. “I don’t see any reason OnePlus should avoid launching the Nord in the US market,” Jia adds.
In any event, Pei has some consolation for fans in the market. “In the meantime, we’re planning a smaller beta program in the US,” he explained. “We also said before that future products in the Nord line will be coming to the US.”
The OnePlus executive also said the company has been keeping a close eye on production. This came after the OnePlus 8 series was initially stymied by production issues. “The team has been to the factory a lot of times to check up on our manufacturing, so far no issues,” Pei noted.
Be sure to check out our interview in the link above for more on the OnePlus Nord from the company’s co-founder.