If Something Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is
The quote in the image was shared by +OnePlus
but it's not by them. Kim Goodwin, the source of the quote, also had this to say about design: When I can look at a solution and think, yes, this solves the problem, it’s elegant, it’s engaging… that’s the reward.
So what's being solved by making the ordering system for the upcoming phone invite only? How does that engage anyone but enthusiastic diehards who were already a foregone conclusion to buy? If you're feeling the urge to explain to me why they're going this route don't bother: I get the reasons to want to avoid too short shortages and too tall overages. But that doesn't reward the customer, it rewards the manufacturer. This is important to keep in mind.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure this phone is going to be great when it's released. All the hype about specs have been pretty clear it'll be a very nice device. The thing is, Motorola and Samsung and HTC and LG and others also have very nice devices. It's not enough to just play the specs race any more. It ships with Cyanogen? How good are the Oppo N1 sales so far? Yeah, yeah... specs, specs, specs!
There was this show called Firefly that had a dedicated (though small) fan base, and the dedication had enough momentum to convince a movie studio to make a feature film from the series. Fans were convinced the movie would explode the story's popularity. The movie went to theaters and underperformed. It was a great movie that came from a great show, in my opinion, but that's not the point. The point is that being loved by enthusiasts just isn't enough. Making getting your product an exercise built to cater to enthusiasts and discourage others on top of that bodes worse.
Maybe I'm wrong and this release will be a smashing success. It would be cool to have another player in the game. It's been a long road for companies like ASUS and OPPO to get into the mobile playing field in the US. I don't see how making the device more difficult to purchase is going to help people continue to want it when so many new devices release throughout the year.
I look forward to the tens of people telling me how wrong I am.