OnePlus firms up the release details of its One uber-phone

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Credit: Florence Ion

Last week, OnePlus announced the OnePlus One, a $300 smartphone with a highly impressive design and tech specs, but the company left out some key details on when it would be available for purchase.

The company has now clarified its release plans in a forum post on its website.

OnePlus says it has prepared 100 phones for its “Phone Smash” contest, in which 100 winners can buy the phone for $1 if they also destroy their current phones. OnePlus is still accepting entries for this contest through May 2, and contestants only have to smash their phones if they win.

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After the contest is over, each winner will be able to invite three other people to purchase the OnePlus One at the full price of $300 for the 16GB Silk White version, or $350 for the 64GB Sandstone Black version.

The first batch of 16GB phones will ship to invitees in mid- to late-May, while the first 64GB phones will ship in early June.

OnePlus says it will increase general availability later in June, and while an invitation will still be required, the company says “people who want it should be able to get an invite without much trouble.” It's unclear when the OnePlus One might be available without an invitation.

OnePlus says it didn't expect such heavy demand for the phone, and didn't anticipate that most people would prefer the 64GB model. “What we've done is dramatically increase the amount of 64GB Sandstone Black models in our production plans, while producing 16GB Silk White as long as they don't delay the time to market for Sandstone Black,” the company said.

The OnePlus One has a 5.5-inch 1080p display, 2.5 Snapdragon 801 processor, 3 GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front camera and a 3,100 mAh battery. In terms of tech specs, it goes toe-to-toe with flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One (M8), but will sell for less than half the price without a contract. The phone runs Android 4.4 with a custom build of CyanogenMod, allowing for plenty of customization.

It sounds like a great product, and fared well in our early hands-on, but the powerful specs and low price tag won't amount to much if OnePlus can't meet demand. Hopefully the company can ramp up manufacturing and drop the invite-based purchase process sooner than later.

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