OnePlus One: The Best Phone You’ve Never Heard Of

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Most technology enthusiasts wouldn’t hesitate to call the OnePlus One the best Android smartphone of 2014, if not just for its incredible value. But if you’re like most people, you’ve probably never heard of it. Unlike most technology advertisements which aim to reach as many potential consumers as possible and win their allegiance, the sole promotional video for the critically acclaimed OnePlus One is largely inaccessible to the general public. Like the video, which is unlisted on YouTube and can only be accessed from the manufacturer’s site, the phone is only available for purchase to those with highly coveted invites. To put it into perspective, in half a year, OnePlus has sold just 500,000 units, while the Apple’s iPhone 6 – released under three months ago – has sold nearly 40 million units. OnePlus has done all this with a marketing budget of a mere $300 – the same cost as a single device. Research shows that this obscurity and exclusivity is part of the two-step flow of advertising, in which incomprehensible or difficult to comprehend advertising is made more accessible by select influential people.

The first half of the advertisement features just one person, the creator, along with a montage of the designing, prototyping, and manufacturing process. We get a glimpse into the minimalistic, yet sophisticated and experimental thought process that went into choosing the materials, form factor, and hardware of the phone; we see the precision and delicacy in the manufacturing and also the elegance and quality of the phone itself. The frequent cuts and edits provide a dynamic and powerful experience that engages and draws the viewer in. However, little in the edited montage sequence informs the viewer of anything about the device; it isn’t until after halfway through the advertisement that any information is shared with the viewer. Here, subtle use of computer graphics imagery and effects provides seamless transitions between information blurbs and further conveys the sense of sophistication and modernization the company wants associated with the phone.

Cell Phone Seduction

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I filmed the above PSA to parody society’s obsession with cell phones. Cell phones permeate every phase of our lives – well, at least my life. I have friends who sleep with their phones next to their pillows, some who hold their phones when they dance at clubs, and yes, the friends that put their phones in the air and wave them side to side at a classic rock concert.

I see groups of friends sitting in silence shoveling food into their mouths while simultaneously typing away at their blackberries. I watch as people in restaurants will gently place their cell phones on their napkins at the start of meals, not to be rude (although it always feels that way), but just to stay connected — to what, I’m not so sure.

Not only is this obsession perhaps ruining what are profound and important social bonds, but it may also be dangerous or even life threatening. I am not saying you will die for texting during a movie, although someone may kill you for doing so because it is apparently really annoying (someone almost killed me during a showing of “Eat, Pray, Love”, and it was only during the previews), but I am talking about texting while driving.

The Monash University Accident Research Centre in Australia conducted an experiment using a driving simulator to evaluate the effects of text messaging on the driving performance of young drivers aged 18 to 21 years, given that drivers in this category are more likely than other drivers to use a mobile phone while driving. “Twenty participants drove on a simulated roadway which contained a number of events, including a pedestrian emerging from behind parked cars, traffic lights, and cars turning right in front of the driver. The results of the study provided evidence that sending text messages while driving is a serious risk for driver safety. The study showed that with text messaging, drivers’ ability to maintain lateral position, and to detect and respond appropriately to traffic signs is negatively affected: “When text messaging, drivers spent up to 400% more time with their eyes off the road than they did when not text messaging.” In the US, a campaign by AT&T has used video from driving simulators to publicize these dangers.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycLKjxCvWZQ

I remember the time before cell phones became so popular, when I would drive down the street and see a frizzy haired man talking to himself and know assuredly that that man was in fact crazy. Now, with Blue Tooth, ear pieces and what-nots, I do not know whether the man’s frizzy hair is simply obscuring one of these devices and he is just talking to a friend, or whether he actually is crazy.

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