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OnePlus One finally on sale without invites, for good this time

Just in time for the company's next device, the OnePlus 2, the much-ballyhooed original is available to the general public. But is it still a good deal?

OnePlus

For much of 2014, I referred to the OnePlus One as "the best smartphone you can't buy." Because despite promises to the contrary, the company continued to sell it mostly by invitation only.

Now, at long last, the OnePlus One is available to the general public and will be for good. Buried within that same announcement: news of its successor, the OnePlus 2.

The One debuted nearly a year ago to widespread acclaim , offering an unlocked powerhouse of an Android handset for a starting price of $299. After a production ramp-up, the company assured, anyone would be able to buy a One.

But that never happened. Save for a few 24-hour and holiday-season promotions, the phone remained frustratingly by-invitation-only. As of yesterday, however, the door is officially open, and the OnePlus One is available for purchase globally. Pricing remains the same: $299 (US) for the 16GB model, $349 for 64GB. (These prices convert to £200 and £233 in the UK and AU$387 and AU$452 in Australia, respectively.) Here's CNET's review if you'd like to learn more about the phone.

Although OnePlus has yet to formally announce a successor to the One (a March teaser hinted at a game-oriented device), yesterday's blog entry came right out and spilled the beans: "With the experiences we've gained with the One, we will be far more prepared to make the same transition with the OnePlus 2."

Frustrating as it was for customers, however, the company plans to return to the invitation system. "Yes, the 2 will initially launch with invites. We're committed to maintaining razor-thin margins in order to give as much value as possible back to our users, and this drastically increases our risk. The OnePlus 2 will bring the challenges that come along with a brand-new product, and initially, our invite system will help us to manage that risk."

For now, OnePlus has supplied no information on price, specs or availability, though TechCrunch recently indicated (without attribution) a Q3 launch.