OnePlus has been on a launching spree in 2022, and with more smartphones planned including an alleged OnePlus Ace Racing Edition, is the brand losing focus? OnePlus has already announced five smartphones this year, which is almost as many as the total number of phones it launched in 2021. A few other phones, including the OnePlus 10 and some Nord series devices are expected to make an appearance as well.
In its first year, OnePlus launched only one smartphone, the OnePlus One. The following year it launched two phones, one of which was the OnePlus X. It used that strategy until 2019 when it launched its first phone with the “Pro” suffix, bringing its total number of devices to four. OnePlus launched six devices in both 2020 and 2021, including its first mid-range smartphone, the OnePlus Nord. This pattern shows that OnePlus has been steadily increasing the number of products it launches, with no apparent plans to slow down.
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The OnePlus Ace (sold as the OnePlus 10R in India) is already a great affordable smartphone. It starts at ¥2499 (approximately $370), packs a powerful customized chipset, a 120Hz OLED display with an under-display fingerprint scanner, and charges insanely fast at 150W. Its timely arrival has made up for the OnePlus 10’s delayed launch. However, OnePlus has plans to announce yet another premium phone which will be sold as the OnePlus Ace Racing Edition, according to 91mobiles. The phone shares some of its DNA with the standard OnePlus Ace but will likely cost less as there are some tradeoffs.
A Race Towards Irrelevance
The OnePlus Ace Racing Edition has a strikingly different design than the standard Ace. Although the back is plastic and home to a triple camera array, it looks like a cross between the OnePlus 10 Pro and Oppo Find X3 Pro. Gone is the flat frame, and in its place is a curved one that has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the right. It is also missing an alert slider. A recent leak revealed the phone has a 6.59-inch LCD panel, which explains why its fingerprint scanner is on the side instead of under the screen. Its processor, while not stated, has the same clock speed as the Dimensity 8100-MAX, which means it is likely to be the same chipset.
It swaps the 50MP main camera for a 64MP sensor but retains the 8MP and 2MP cameras. It also has a 16MP front-facing camera and a 5,000mAh battery. The battery is bigger than the 4,500mAh one inside the OnePlus Ace but it is the same capacity as the OnePlus 10R 80W variant. When it launches, it will be available in 8GB and 12GB RAM variants with either 128GB or 256GB of storage. There is no disputing the fact that these specifications are great for an affordable flagship phone. Nevertheless, there is no reason for this phone to exist in the first place since the OnePlus Ace and OnePlus 10R already offer a flagship experience on a budget.
Although it may seem far-fetched, it is possible that this phone was a prototype for the OnePlus Ace, and is now being released as a commercial device. OnePlus’s recent trajectory of launching several products one after the other is not only a journey towards irrelevance but also a misplaced focus. Too many phones will quickly be forgotten, not only by the public but also by OnePlus. Many brands with a large product portfolio are known to abandon their phones after launch, leaving owners with bug-filled devices running outdated software. OnePlus has already started down this path as it has a few phones yet to receive the Android 12 update. OnePlus needs to slow down new product launches and turn its attention to quality rather than quantity.