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OnePlus AMA: we misjudged demand by 30X, pre-orders to continue into 2015

OnePlus’ Carl Pei and David S. answered questions about OnePlus One, the upcoming OnePlus Two, and other product categories that the startup is considering.
September 29, 2014
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OnePlus’ Carl Pei and David S. just completed an Ask Me Anything session on r/technology, where they offered some info on the OnePlus One, the upcoming OnePlus Two, and other product categories that the startup is considering.

When it comes to OnePlus’ hit product, Carl and David explained why their company had so many difficulties meeting demand for the One. Answering a question about the problems that OnePlus faced in its first year of existence, Pei said:

Things definitely haven’t gone as planned. Looking back, we probably misjudged demand by 30x, and are scrambling to catch up. Our team wasn’t built to handle this growth. We’re hiring like crazy, and things should be under control in a few months.

It’s hard to understand how OnePlus could underestimate demand so dramatically, even assuming that Pei’s 30X characterization was hyperbolic. Still, it happened with bigger, older companies in the past – see how difficult it was for Google and LG to meet initial demand for the Nexus 4 in 2012.

OnePlus will continue using the invitation system for the foreseeable future, even if the company recently announced it would open pre-orders for a limited time in October. Pei reiterated the need to keep inventory controls in check:

Will the OnePlus One ever be available to order, without any form of reservation/pre-order system?

Not in 2014. We understand that our current method may be slowing our growth down, but we’d rather grow slower and in a healthy way than taking too much risk and going out of business. Risk management is extra important in our scenario where we don’t have hardware margins

In fact, OnePlus will likely use the same system for the OnePlus Two, coming in Q2-Q3 2015:

It will probably be invite-only for a short period of time, after which pre-orders are rolled out.

There were some rumors in the past about OnePlus getting into tablets, but judging from Pei’s statement that won’t happen anytime soon:

The Nexus tablets are pretty good. We don’t think we can make anything significantly better in the near future.

However, OnePlus is considering different sizes for upcoming products:

We’ve seen a lot of people asking for a smaller device, and want to let everyone know that we hear you. We’re thinking about it.

And even some new categories:

I know this is too early but any plans for wearables in the future?

Re: wearables. Yes. Unsure if/when/how we’ll release it though.

There are more interesting answers in the AMA, including some concerning the upcoming OTA, that should fix some touchscreen issues and other problems with the OnePlus One.

Are you satisfied with OnePlus’ evolution so far?