OnePlus 6T: Has OnePlus Turned A Deaf Ear To Users’ Feedback?

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Social listening is an art, and if we believe in the findings of various studies brands are making a significant investment to stay on top of it. But looks like OnePlus is an exception here! By now you must have heard about the upcoming launch of OnePlus 6T, which is just around the corner. And, if you have been paying close attention to Carl Pei, CEO – OnePlus, you must be aware that the successor of highly popular OnePlus 6 would be missing 3.5mm headphone jack.

In an exclusive interview with TechRadar, Carl Pei has revealed that OnePlus 6T would be introduced with the significant design changes, including the On-Screen fingerprint scanner and missing headphone jack.

It is important to make a note that Carl Pei was very careful in addressing the device which is going to ditch headphone jack. Instead of naming it as OnePlus 6T, he kept quoting it as “the next OnePlus handset“. Put it with the rumours making rounds, and it’s no hard to guess which OnePlus device is going to miss the headphone jack.

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“You’ve got to make decisions that optimize the user experience, and understand that at times things that provide user value can also add friction,” says Carl Pei.

He also explained that the decision to ditch the headphone jack in OnePlus 6T is well informed.

“We also had to think about the negative side [of removing the headphone jack] for our users. We found 59% of our community already owned wireless headphones earlier this year – and that was before we launched our Bullets Wireless headphones,” he adds.

OnePlus is not the first company to ditch headphone jack. It all started with Apple, and followed by many smartphone manufacturers later. And, that’s why, at a first glance, Carl Pei looks convincing, logical and completely justified.

But then something strikes from the past, which results in raising a lot more questions on the strategy of OnePlus to introduce OnePlus 6T without a headphone jack.

Remember all the hullabaloo when Apple first announced the iPhone 7 with missing headphone jack!. But what looks crazier in case of OnePlus 6T is the decision to ditch headphone jack against potential customers’ wish.

In his interview, Carl Pei referenced the data that was tracked earlier this year. Apparently, he forgot the customers’ mandate recorded by OnePlus through one of its polls on Twitter earlier this year.

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In March this year, Car Pei asked his followers whether they like the headphone jack. It is important to note that the question was in regards to 2018 edition of OnePlus. The poll received an overwhelming response on Twitter as over 19,000 fans and followers of OnePlus participated in it in a bid to send their feedback to OnePlus. Interestingly, nearly 9 out of every 10 participants voted in the favour of a headphone jack. The whole exercise was meant to promote OnePlus 6, which was scheduled for March 2018, though. However, in a mere 6 month period, OnePlus has apparently realised that the overwhelming response received in the favour of the headphone jack is simply worthless, hence decided to ignore it completely.

Almost every journal and expert has failed to find a convincing reason behind a smartphone company deciding to ditch headphone jack. In fact, they believe that it’s quite annoying that Smartphone companies are turning deaf ears to their feedback in a bid to increase their revenue.

OnePlus is no different; The latest leaks have found that OnePlus is working on a new pair of Bullets Wireless Headphones, which would be launched alongside OnePlus 6T. Even if OnePlus stays reasonable with the price of the upcoming wireless headphone – which is meant to fill the gap created by the absence of headphone jack – each sales of it would bring $70 or more in revenues for OnePlus.

OnePlus may justify its move with the more powerful battery that could only be accommodated by ditching headphone jack without making the device more bulky and thick. However, only the time will tell whether the tradeoff is well justified or not.

So far, OnePlus has been successful in luring customers with the impressive devices. The company has been giving Samsung and Apple run for their money in the premium segment. In Q2 2018, OnePlus leapfrogged Samsung to became the number one premium smartphone brand in India.

Fans, followers and users of a brand invest their time in such polls with a confidence that there is always someone at the other side who is paying attention to their wants and feedback. Unless there is a more convincing reason – backed with data – to decided otherwise, floating such polls and then dumping it is only diluting and killing the whole essence of social listening. Until that is realised, anything and everything will be justified as a part of social media marketing activity!

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