What you need to know
- The OnePlus 8 series could be one of the most affordable in India.
- India doesn't have a commercial 5G network, so it is possible OnePlus could go the Samsung route and launch 4G-only variants of its devices.
- India is also OnePlus' biggest market, so it needs to do well in the country to continue its global momentum.
OnePlus unveiled the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro at an online event yesterday, with the standard OnePlus 8 set to retail for $699 and the OnePlus 8 Pro starting off at $899. The devices come with a lot of new features, including Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 865 chipset with 5G connectivity, but the steep hike in pricing led to a lot of consternation from OnePlus' Indian fans.
To put things into context, the OnePlus 8 at $699 would come out to ₹53,445, which is on par with what the OnePlus 7T Pro cost when it launched at the end of last year. OnePlus decided to not announce India pricing as the devices aren't set to go on sale for a few weeks at least due to the nationwide lockdown, but that led to speculation as to how much the company's latest phones would cost in the country.
To assuage customers in the country, OnePlus India has tweeted that the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro could be sold at severely discounted prices.
While OnePlus didn't elaborate, we can make a few guesses judging by previous launches. The OnePlus 7T debuted at ₹37,999 ($499), so it is possible OnePlus is aiming to launch the OnePlus 8 for around ₹40,000 ($525) to ₹43,000 ($565). Similarly, the OnePlus 8 Pro could likely slot in at around ₹55,000 ($720) to ₹60,000 ($785). Anything over ₹60,000 for the OnePlus 8 Pro would make the phone a non-starter in the Indian market, because in that category sales are dominated by Apple and Samsung.
OnePlus could decide to launch 4G-only variants of the OnePlus 8 series in India to save costs. India has no 5G network to speak of, and Samsung went the same route with the Exynos 990-based Galaxy S20 series in the country. With India being OnePlus' biggest market — accounting for well over a third of the company's global sales — the company needs to get its strategy right before it launches its latest phones in the country. And if that tweet above is any indication, it looks like that's exactly what it's doing.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.