True North – How OnePlus changed the middle segment of the phone market

In 2014, OnePlus surprised the technology world when it released its first phone. At a time when high-end hardware, eye-catching design and sleek software were considered reserved for expensive and premium devices, OnePlus showed that you too could do all this at surprisingly affordable prices. Without compromise. The first OnePlus phone made the term “flagship killer” a household name and literally invented the concept of the budget flagship. In the years that went by, OnePlus saw itself in a niche in the extremely competitive smartphone world and even moved up from being a flagship killer to becoming a flagship in itself. For many brands, that would have been more than enough. But this was OnePlus, a brand committed to Never Settling.

Half a dozen years after the first OnePlus phone changed the concept of flagships, a new OnePlus brand changed the mid-range phone as we all knew it. This was OnePlus North. The word “North” is derived from “North”, the direction a compass always points towards, making it represent growth and success, as well as integrity (“True North”). And just as the first OnePlus phone showed the world that flagship phones do not have to cost ground, OnePlus North proved that a mid-range phone could deliver near-flagship levels.

The first OnePlus Nord was released in 2020 and came with a feature set that had not been seen at its price point of 24,999 Rs – an AMOLED screen with high refresh rate, a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 processor, plenty of RAM and storage space, dual front cameras and a main camera on the back with OIS, a fast charging battery and 5G support (even all the way back in 2020). It ran on the same bloatware-free, pure OxygenOS that made the use of premium OnePlus devices a smooth experience.

All of these came inside a frame that reflected the first-class, classic design language from OnePlus, complete with a trademark blue hue, which was the official color of the North brand. The technology world had not seen anything like it. Until Nord came along, the middle segment of the phone market had only been about compromises – you might get a good processor, but the screen can be dull; if you got a good screen, there was a chance that the cameras would not be the best, and so on. However, OnePlus Nord gave you everything you needed without compromising. It was “pretty much everything you could ask for,” in OnePlus’ own words.

Not surprisingly, the OnePlus Nord was a resounding success. So much so that a new term was invented to define its segment – “the premium middle segment.” The world had barely gotten used to this concept before OnePlus shook the phone tree in the middle segment again, this time in mid-2021, with OnePlus Nord CE, where CE stood for “Core Experience”. If Nord had shown everyone that phones in the middle segment could provide an almost flagship experience, Nord CE redefined what was a basic phone experience in the middle segment. “A little more than you would expect” was the line used to promote it, and for Rs 22,999 it offered features that no one expected for the price – a good AMOLED screen, 5G connection, OxygenOS, good cameras, a fast charging battery and even a 3.5mm audio jack, a feature that other brands lost. Once again, the design was premium. If Nord was the premium middle segment, Nord was the CE middle segment. And both phones delivered amazing performance, far beyond what was expected at their price.

OnePlus has built the Nord legacy with the bestseller Nord 2 and OnePlus Nord CE 2, which proves that with lower prices does not come performance at a lower level. The brand even launched a playable version of Nord 2, the OnePlus Nord 2 PAC-MAN edition, showcasing its design flair. Most brands come out with special editions of their premium flagships. However, OnePlus chose its flagship in the mid-range segment to pay tribute to one of the world’s biggest games ever. The brand has made the middle segment synonymous with cool and stylish and not the resort for those who could not afford premium phones.

A new chapter will be added to the OnePlus Nord story at the “More Power to You” event on April 28. OnePlus is releasing a new Nord phone and in a completely new price category. The phone, called the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite, comes with everything you would expect from a OnePlus device – great cameras with a 64 MP main sensor, a large 5000 mAh battery (the largest seen on a OnePlus) with 33W fast charging, Oxygen OS, 5G (a OnePlus staple!) And a beautiful Blue Tide design. And it is expected to be even more affordable than its other North siblings, which in turn redefines the middle segment of the phone market as we know it. The event will also see the launch of OnePlus Nord Buds, which will add a new product category to the Nord brand, which lays the foundation for a Nord ecosystem.

Come at 19:00 on April 28, and a North unit will again show the middle segment how true North is. You can catch the next phase in the proud legacy of the Nord series live at https://www.oneplus.in/launch?tab=oneplus-nord-ce-2-lite-5g.

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