OnePlus One phone will be invite-only out of the gate

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The OnePlus One, the upcoming CyanogenMod-toting Android phone, is set to launch on starting on April 23rd online, but there’s a bit of a catch. If you want to be one of the first to get your hands on the OnePlus One, you’ll need to score an invite.

The OnePlus Invite System was announced yesterday in a post on the OnePlus forums, and it’s bound to ruffle a few feathers. The post explains just why the company has decided to make the handset invite-only, saying that it’s actually “solving a problem” by launching the handset this way. Invites will be available through friends, contests, and to active participants of the OnePlus forums. 

As a refresher, the OnePlus One is the second Android smartphone to ship with the popular custom ROM CyanogenMod out of the box. The highly anticipated handset will ship with a 5.5 inch HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC, 3GB of RAM, and a 13 megapixel camera—for under $400. 

I'm not in love with the fact that the OnePlus One will be invite-only at launch, despite the company’s reasoning. It’s understandable why OnePlus would want to ensure that those in its community have a better chance of getting a phone for which demand will almost certainly outstrip supply at launch. But at the end of the day, its end-game is to make money. Creating scarcity and making users feel special by scoring invites builds hype... but making it impossible to buy such a desired product also creates ill will. 

If you’re sold on the OnePlus One and don’t make it the first round, you could have a while to wait until you secure the handset. With no carrier partnership to speak of, snubbed customers might want to install CyanogenMod on their existing phones. It won’t be quite the same as the customized version of the OS that will land on the OnePlus One, but it might tide you over.

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