In July, ahead of the launch of its latest handset, OnePlus announced a "new and improved invite system" for the device. The invite system allows the company to tightly manage its supply chain, building only those devices it needs to fulfill existing demand, and avoiding large and potentially costly build-ups of inventory accumulating in its warehouses - but from a customer perspective, the experience has been less than satisfactory.
Unfortunately, the new system hasn't done anything to expedite the process of taking delivery of a OnePlus 2 so far. In fact - like so many things that the company has done before - it's managed to screw things up again with the launch of its new device.
And that's not just the snark of an embittered tech journo - the company actually said as much today. In an open letter to its customers, OnePlus' CEO Carl Pei began with a frank and honest assessment of the situation:
We messed up the launch of the OnePlus 2.
Well, we messed up the launch of the OnePlus One as well.
Pei referred to the company's earlier promises regarding its new invite system, but admitted that despite assurances of less waiting, more invites and more availability of stock, OnePlus "only began shipping [the 2] in meaningful quantities this week" - and for that, he offered an unequivocal apology:
I’d like to apologize on behalf of OnePlus for the delay.
To our fans, sorry. We were equally excited when we saw your excitement around the OnePlus 2. We know how it feels waiting and waiting for something you really want, while being given ETAs that go unfulfilled. We appreciate the trust and support that you have given to a relatively small and unknown company like OnePlus.
He added that the company is considering a one-hour 'flash sale' of the OnePlus 2 to make it easier for those still waiting to be able to order the new handset.
Pei extended his apology to the company's partners as well, and even to his own employees:
To our team, sorry. This delay has brought huge opportunity cost upon our OnePlus. It has shortened the product life cycle of the OnePlus 2, as well as caused huge reputational damage to our company. Although we don’t think competition will impact us much, it’s still undeniable that we’ve given a month to competing products to catch up. In addition, it has put a dent on our strong forward momentum and made it harder for us to reach our full business potential as a company.
He wrapped up his post with a further apology - "we simply messed up again and apologize for that", and said that the company intends to learn from its mistakes. However, its customers will no doubt be wary, even of such open and honest statements, given that OnePlus has made such promises before.