The idea of a cheap high-end phone has its fans, it appears. On Thursday, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei told Forbes that 500,000 OnePlus Ones have sold since the phone's April launch, the company is pushing toward a goal of one million handsets sold by the end of 2014.
The revelation comes as a bit of a surprise, given the extensive problems the One had this year with bugs, late software updates, and a disastrous publicity campaign. Yet its invite-only buying scheme clearly has enough fans to convince Pei this is a realistic goal.
But since it took seven months to hit this milestone, OnePlus will clearly need to open the doors to its online storefront a bit wider to achieve 1 million sales by the end of the year. He did not indicate if the company will loosen its invite system or ramp up production to hit this goal, though OnePlus introduced a very limited time—three hours!—preorder option for all comers in October. A second preorder window is scheduled to open on November 17, presumably of limited duration once again.
The story behind the story: Despite these issues, the OnePlus One remains a fairly solid device at an attractive price point. It starts at only $300 off-contract for the 16GB model. Now that the Nexus program is going high end (the Nexus 6 starts at $650) the One may have a lot of appeal for someone looking to save some cash on a new Android device. Yet buyers still have good reason for skepticism, as OnePlus is a young, untested company that has yet to show it can offer the same kind of support as larger competitors.