Do we really need to do this, internet? Do we really have to have a talk about why smashing your phone to win a contest is a bad idea? I hoped we wouldn't. A naive, idealistic part of me hoped that it would be self-evident that, when a company runs a contest where the prize is damaging your own property so you can buy an unreviewed, untested phone, the scummy, bullshit nature of this contest would be self-evident. And yet.
So, fine. Here we go. Let's do this.
Do you know what's in your phone? If you're even considering the possibility of smashing your phone for fun, you probably don't, so let me educate you. Your phone contains a lithium ion battery. These batteries, while stable enough with the right precautions, are actually exceedingly dangerous. If they get overcharged or overheated, they can rupture and even explode. They can also explode if you smash them with a fucking hammer.
We've seen this before when this idiot put his phone in a microwave. His phone exploded. Or the woman whose Galaxy S3 exploded for some undetermined reason (pending investigation) here. There's some disturbing imagery at that link because exploding batteries fucking hurt. Oh, and if you're not convinced, you can check out the video at the top of this page to see what can happen when you smash your phone with a hammer like an addlepated halfwit.
Spoiler: the battery ruptures and sprays dangerous lithium ion vapor throughout the room.
One of the key selling points of the OnePlus One—the magical fairy phone you get the privilege of buying if you're selected for the prestigious honor of ruining your own stuff—is that it's cheap. $300 for a flagship phone. We can debate the merits of the device on its own another time, but we'll go ahead and say that you want this phone.
Sell your old phone. Jeez.
If you have a recent flagship phone like an HTC One or recent iPhone, you have no friggin' excuse for not selling your phone. Here are Swappa listings for new to fair condition HTC One phones ranging from $280 to $485. Note: fair condition does not include "smashed to pieces and possibly exploded." Depending on how well you've taken care of your phone, you could actually be losing money on this stupid deal by "winning" the contest. But OnePlus gets some free marketing. Woo.
Even if your phone isn't worth enough to buy a OnePlus, or you don't feel like selling it, there's another option that also won't show you to be a wasteful, misguided jerk.
I get it. Anything with less than 3GB of RAM in it just isn't worth your time because you're an Android warrior and you root phones erryday. However—and I know this will come as a startlingly harsh realization to some of you—there are other people in the world. If you have so little regard for your own wonderful, miracle electronics, you can donate it.
Here's a place where you can donate used cell phones to soldiers. Or here's a place that uses the cell phones to help victims of domestic violence. Or you can donate them to one of the many, many, many organizations that will refurbish and sell them to raise money for other charities that may not need cell phones directly, but that are perpetually underfunded.
As hard as it may be to grasp, not everyone cares about having the best specs in the world. In fact, most people don't. Specs are important, sure. I know some of the hardcore fans among you might think that the high-end Moto X is subpar, so you might want to sit down for this: sometimes people buy last year's model. Some people buy whatever's cheapest. Some people can't buy phones and would be over the moon if they had your "crappy" old phone. Hell, in some cases, that might actually save their lives! But no, you go ahead and take a hammer to your phone's face. Because it's clearly not worth anything.
I am not the target market for the OnePlus One. I admit that. I care about a phone that works well, has some neat features, and does what I need it to do. I do not care about a phone that has "maxed out specs" for the price because my phone works very well, thankyouverymuch. So I get that, to a certain extent, OnePlus' marketing will not appeal to me.
For that reason, I could accept the long, drawn out teases. Showing each individual component of the phone like they were discovering it for the first time (because they sort of are). I could handle this stupid contest where the winner was flown to Hong Kong to touch the back of the phone. I could handle that.
What I can't handle is a company that is trying to build trust and a reputation with its customer base while simultaneously advising activities that could physically harm them. There's also absolutely no mention of any liability or plans for compensation should someone injure themselves during this OnePlus contest. Check out the company's FAQ page just below the application. You can find out when, how, and why you should smash your phone, and how to buy a OnePlus One if you don't want to smash it. Nowhere does it mention whether OnePlus will pay any medical bills if your phone's battery exploded in your face. Congratulations, winner!
This actually makes me a little sad to write because I know a couple people at CyanogneMod. There are some good people there and I'm sure there are good people at OnePlus as well. But advising fans to do dangerous and stupid stuff with their phones—and worse, rewarding them for it—is irresponsible, misguided, and a lame attempt to build hype. One that could backfire drastically not just for the winners, but for OnePlus itself.
Don't smash your phones.