Can OnePlus 9R and OnePlus Nord co-exist?
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(Image credit: OnePlus)

The much-awaited OnePlus 9 series was launched yesterday. And while the design and specifications matched the leaks and rumours that floated around, the company hinted, just ahead of the launch, that it plans to launch an India specific device – The OnePlus 9R.

In case you’re not aware, the OnePlus 9R is the first phone in the country to rock the new Snapdragon 870 chipset. The device comes in two options – 8GB+128GB and 12GB+256GB. It is a 5G phone and will be available at a starting price of Rs. 39,999 making it the cheapest in the latest flagship lineup from OnePlus. It is, however, this pricing itself that is creating a lot of confusion.

Firstly, OnePlus moved away from the flagship killer mode to a pure flagship category a couple of years back and since then it has aimed at pricey devices that do not compromise on user experience to increase the affordability criteria. 

Then the company took a U-turn and introduced the OnePlus Nord lineup to cater to users who were still missing the original affordable flagship devices from OnePlus.

Now the OnePlus 9R sits right between the Nord and the OnePlus 9 and is being termed as an “accessible flagship” smartphone. That said, OnePlus’s Vice-President & Chief Strategy Officer, Navneet Nakra has stated that the 9R and the Nord will co-exist and that the 9R isn’t a Nord replacement.

He told the Indian Express that the company’s idea revolved around having a device at a more affordable price point with all the premium features that OnePlus as a brand is known for delivering in its flagship smartphone. 

“Nord is going to come at a slightly more affordable price point compared to the OnePlus 9 or the super flagship phone [OnePlus 9 Pro] and will continue to be in our flagship portfolio,” the official was quoted as saying.

Too many minds, too many devices

This is exactly what the brand mooted when it announced the “affordable OnePlus Nord.” It was supposed to be midway for users who could get the same OnePlus experience but without breaking the bank. And heck, there were a couple of other devices under the Nord lineup that were cheaper but had a limited launch. 

Does this mean that OnePlus is switching from its policy of launching a handful of devices every year and gradually wants to become a brand that has devices in all the price segments? It would have a base OnePlus device, its pro variant followed by the 6-monthly update in the form of T devices. 

Apart from these, the Nord line up will ideally take care of the budget and mid-price segment. With the R series, not only is OnePlus aiming to fill the gap between the two lineups, it will also be able to compete in the Rs. 35-45K price bracket.

These are far too many changes that the company has made in the last year or so. Not only did it announce too many devices, it also merged its R&D with OPPO which resulted in the replacement of the HydrogenOS with the ColorOS. 

And these subtle changes would beg the all important question:  Is OnePlus gradually becoming an OPPO in disguise? 

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