Teenage Engineering OP-1


Speaking from experience, there’s a vast difference between marketing an PR - as this event shows. Problem is, a lot of companies (esp younger/cooler/startups) generally only think in terms of marketing, in terms of broadcasting a message and letting that be that.

TE’s marketing is generally excellent, especially if we consider product design a part of marketing. But as you say, their PR is… less so.


I agree with the separation of marketing from PR, but in a case like this the problem would have had to be handled from BOTH at the same time:

marketing should have broken the news to us in a way that we actually think this is worth the extra money (“new improved screen, specially made for the OP-1 mk2” - the ‘mk2’ would have easily taken out most of the anger on its own), and then PR would have needed to step in and calmly handle the remaining angered comments in a professional manner.


Agreed, but also PR capacity should have been employed much further in advance to give some foresight to potential reactions and ways to mitigate them.

This, though, if probably off topic again so I’ll shut up :slight_smile:


Who is the aggrieved party in this case?
An Op-1 owner who just found out that the box they already own has just got a lot more expensive?
A potential buyer who is now not going to buy as it is too expensive?
A potential seller of an Op-1?
Someone who was nearly going to pay 28 grand for an Op-1 on eBay but TE warned them not to?

Just the second group it seems to me.


I am a happy owner and user of an OP-1 bought for 899us + shipping + import taxes. In canadian dollars goes beyond 1299$. It was insane. With the price hike I feel I will never do that again and it is a shame cause I like this thing a lot and shit happens like accidents, stealing etc. Built myself a tough wooden travel case but you never know. Hope nothing will happen cause this is clearly the last.
That is a shame also that tho available, fewer will be able to afford it and enjoy it. It was expensive but now it has become a luxury item for a bunch of rich people.
Exchange rate is a bitch on top of it.
Just delete all the youtube demo of it and their sales will pretty much disapear. I would have prefered volume to flood the market as a way to stop resellers schemes, but price hike should do the trick. Tricky line to draw. No win win as far as I see it.
Communication dep failed for sure.


I spoke to TE fairly extensively today regarding the price hike.
The answer is obviously not as trivial as some make it sound regarding the AMOLED display. Of course it doesnt cost £400. But, as @Simon mentioned some posts above, they had to re-work the board and case in order to get the screen to fit into the chassis. Moreoever, they had to re-write the code for the graphics to display correctly etc.

I doubt they are doing it on purpose for their benefit. Old gear, trade tariff wars globally, shortage of certain components and time spent re-writing code etc… all adds up I suppose.

Anyway, I ordered one from TE direct to take with me on holiday. At these second-hand prices, may as well get one from the source with a warranty in case something goes wrong. Have to say that ever since selling mine a couple of years ago to a fellow 'Naut, I have missed the OP-1s immediacy and limitations.

BTW - the fact that the sequencer and synth buttons are switched on the Valentines Day promo is because they were shipped a unit that had the buttons assembled the wrong way around - yikes…! :sweat_smile:


you see, this is what pisses me off, really…

it´s not as if they aren´t willing to share background information on the price increase, IF they are being pressed for it…

but the fact that all anybody seems to get is “private” conversational info / replies to single people on *****ing instagram, and no official statement to be found anywhere…

oh well. I´m over it (them).


There is no way it actually costs them 400 British pounds extra per unit. I would guess that is what upsets people. It’s like a 40% increase.

Anyone would understand 50 quid increase for some new parts and reworking the production process. But at 400 per unit they’ve lost all credibility.

I’d love to see the BOM for the OP-1 though. Maybe they can make it public to curb the negative press :smile:


You must have insider information about their manufacturing costs then? Tell us more


Nope, but I do have common sense :wink:

Anyone is free to believe their cost actually increased 400 pounds per unit though.


Again, why the big deal?!

They’re welcome to sell at £1m per OP1 if they wanted to. It’s up to them at the end of the day.

There is a perfectly valid reason for the price hike. I don’t like it but only because I’m not rich enough to afford it. I do think it’s overpriced but again, thats me and my personal view point.

The way some are behaving about it is as if TE popped round and shat in your cornflakes!


a 400 quid increase could easily explained if they shifted production from China to Sweden, for example, increased labor wages etc. :wink:

but, as you said: we have NO INFO so we are doomed to speculation… and nobody to blame for this but TE themselves.


you´re right of course, it´s a buyers market and they can ask whatever price they want - someone is gonna pay it, or the product goes away… simple.

but you might be reading too much into the (admittedly) strongly worded posts… nobody REALLY is making a “big deal” out of this, but it´s a slow news week and all of our real problems are too depressing to think about I guess.



You have a point there! :smile:


It’s still 99% a design that they made almost 10 years ago and more importantly, uses 10 years old parts - the AMOLED display is 320x160 resolution which is almost antique by todays standards.

If they are seriously suggesting the hardware costs forces them to charge €1399 for OP-1, they must think their customers are idiots who believe anything. I bet one OP-1 costs about 100€ to make for TE - all the rest is profit.


I guess that makes me an idiot then.

I wonder how you come up with this number.


Has ifixit restocked the parts that went faulty on the old one? They ran out of I/O jacks and other parts.


2019, already a shit year to be a hipster…



For less than what TE asks for OP-1, you can get latest mobile CPU that is made with very expensive 7nm process (that rivals desktop CPUs), 12,9" retina resolution 120hz touch screen - and all in a package that’s light weight and slim. And this from a premium brand (Apple).

To state that 10 year old mobile CPU with 320x160 resolution screen and couple custom buttons in a case costs more to make is just laughable.

Just speculating. OP-1 is essentially 10 year old mobile phone technology. The electronics shouldn’t cost much more than 50€ total when bought in bulk. I added another 50€ for the custom case and buttons/knobs. I may be little off in my estimation but I don’t think by much.


this is not how any of this works. apple is a huge and rich company with established production in factories, with tons of expensive tech and materials at their disposal. te is a bunch of talented engineers and designers.
i mean, if any of us decides to make a 10 years old tech phone, it’ll cost us much more money than for apple to build their latest ipad pro. this is incomparable.