The OnePlus 3 launched earlier this summer and we deemed it to be one of the best Android devices of the year. But the company behind it may be getting ready to put out a successor, only months after the original’s launch.
According to “a trusted supply chain source” quoted by GizmoChina, OnePlus is getting ready to halt production of the OnePlus 3, instead focusing on a new, updated model, called the OnePlus 3S or OnePlus 3 Plus. Given the phone’s popularity and positive critical reception, this move seems utterly bizarre, especially given that the company has promised to focus on a single flagship device this year.
It turns out though, that it’s exactly the OnePlus 3’s popularity which may be forcing this move. Ever since its launch, the company has struggled to keep up with demand, even going as far as imposing a temporary sales furlough in Europe and other parts of the world. The OnePlus 3 recently became available in those regions again, but even now, one of the models is out of stock, while the other ships within four weeks.
It looks like a big part of these shortages are due to delays with the OLED panels that the OnePlus 3 uses in its screens. A new OnePlus 3S model, which would opt for LCD panels, could fix that. The new device is also expected to feature Qualcomm’s faster Snapdragon 821 processors. The OnePlus 3S or Plus, or whatever it might end up being called, is expected to be a complete replacement for the OnePlus 3, even though it will be very similar to it, and the two devices will not be competing with each other.
An actual true successor, the OnePlus 4, with a new design and new internals, is still expected for next year.
It's unclear if OnePlus will actually take such a radical step and opt for an entirely new device. The company would have to navigate between putting out an attractive, affordable device and angering its existing customers, who might feel cheated if the new phone is much more powerful.
Update: None other than Carl Pei has jumped on this rumor to seemingly debunk it. After originally posting in the OnePlus community forums that "AMOLED>LCD", now OnePlus' co-founder has publicly tweeted that his company has no intention of switching to LCD screens.
That would seem to be the end of this rumor. However, Pei, interestingly enough, did confirm that the reason behind the massive delays of OnePlus 3 shipments are indeed the AMOLED panels used on the screen. He further explained that:
So when we saw the strong demand for the OnePlus 3, we immediately started increasing our AMOLED orders but now the supply will arrive much later vs. the dynamics we were under in 2014 and 2015. Therefore, it still takes us up to a month to deliver OnePlus 3 orders being placed today, which is a really bad shopping experience for a product that's been on the market for a few months already.
At least we're glad OnePlus is agreeing with its users.