Since its launch nearly a year ago, the OnePlus One smartphone has been available predominantly on an invite-only basis. Invites aren't hard to obtain, and OnePlus recently opened sales to everyone on Tuesdays, but the so-called "flagship killer" has remained more difficult to purchase than its peers—until now. The company has officially shuttered the invite system for the One, making the phablet available to all.
According to a post on its website, OnePlus is now "confident that we have matured enough to handle the increased complexity that comes along with opening up sales completely." That said, the next-gen OnePlus 2 will follow the original's invite-only approach, at least for the initial launch. Invites help mitigate the risk associated with OnePlus's low-margin approach, the company says.
Low margins fuel the OnePlus One's affordable asking price, which has always been a big part of the handset's appeal. The entry-level 16GB unit is available for $299, while its 64GB sibling is only $349. Those prices are for fully unlocked devices free of contractual obligations, and they're about half what you'll pay for an equivalent flagship from the biggest names in the business.
After a few months with the 64GB version, I'm pretty happy with my purchase. Although the One isn't capable of going toe-to-toe with the latest flagships on all fronts—the camera and screen being notable weak points—it still delivers an incredible experience for the money. I really enjoy the little tweaks integrated into the CyanogenMod OS, too, but I'm still waiting for an over-the-air update to Lollipop. Perhaps, now that the device is available to everyone, the new OS build will follow suit.