China-based smartphone maker OnePlus has announced some interesting plans ahead of the launch of its next flagship phone, the OnePlus 3.
The company has teamed up with VR specialists AntVR to build 30,000 specially-made OnePlus Loop VR headsets, and it’s giving away 30,000 of them on a first-come, first-served basis. This echos a move made by the company last year when it gave away 30,000 Google Cardboard-style VR viewers to encourage fans to watch the launch event for the OnePlus 2 in virtual reality.
From a cost perspective, the difference between giving away $5 cardboard viewers and a fully-fledged Samsung Gear-style headset is surely substantial. But as OnePlus notes, these will likely become collectors’ items as they will be in very limited supply.
Similar to last year, you’ll be able to watch the OnePlus 3 launch event remotely in virtual reality by sliding your smartphone inside the Loop VR headset, and it’s compatible with most smartphones between 5 and 6 inches in screensize.
“We believe we, and the tech industry as a whole, have only scratched the surface of what can be done in VR, and there’s much more immersive experiences to be had,” said OnePlus cofounder Carl Pei. “Inspired by a certain fan video, we took to our imagination of where OnePlus would be decades from now, having moved our headquarters to space.”
The imaginary space station is called The Loop, and OnePlus is touting this as “the world’s first global shopping experience in VR” — you will be able to order the new OnePlus 3 through a VR mall before anyone else.
OnePlus has gained significant attention for its low-price, high-spec Android phones, with its last flagship — the OnePlus 2 — getting generally positive reviews. It also spun-out a second phone last year, a device that we reckoned wasn’t quite up to flagship status, though that was never its intention.
We don’t have an official launch date yet for the OnePlus 3, but the company could be setting a trend with its virtual reality launch events — back in February, Samsung launched its latest Galaxy flagship through VR at MWC in Barcelona, though the Korean tech titan did so at a physical event. OnePlus doesn’t quite have the marketing budget of Samsung, so it’s electing to keep things entirely virtual.