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China-based smartphone maker OnePlus has revealed that it’s launching the OnePlus 2 — the follow-up to its flagship One smartphone — on July 27.

True to OnePlus’s previous form, it’s doing things a little differently — it’s live-streaming the launch event to the world in virtual reality (VR), starting at 7 p.m. PDT.

“A VR launch lets you stand right next to our team and our fans as we unveil our new flagship,” company cofounder Carl Pei said in the announcement. “You’ll be able to look around as you check out the phone in a new way and maybe even find a few hidden Easter eggs. It’s a new way of thinking about a product launch. We aren’t talking at you; we are talking with you.”

Interestingly, OnePlus says it has engineered its own custom “cardboard” VR headsets for the occasion, similar to what Google offers, letting you slip your mobile phone inside a little box with windows on the front. “We didn’t cut any corners on production, and we’re definitely losing money on this,” added Pei. “But we want to share them with everyone.”

You’ll be able to order your OnePlus Cardboard soon.

OnePlus still isn’t detailing too much about its new flagship phone, but it has been drip-feeding some little nuggets over the past couple of weeks — for example, we know that it will sport a USB-C port and a Snapdragon 810 processor. More facts will be coming to light in the buildup to launch.

We already knew that the OnePlus 2 would be launching in the second or third quadrant of 2015, after the company revealed this tidbit last year, but a concrete date has hitherto been lacking.

Today’s news comes a few weeks after the Shenzhen-headquartered company scythed $50 off the OnePlus One, a clear sign that the company was looking to ditch existing inventory ahead of the arrival of its second smartphone.

OnePlus has gained a great deal of attention over the past 18 months for the One, a low-price, high-spec Android phone that cost $299/$349 for the 16GB/64GB versions until the $50 price cut last week. But it hasn’t always been easy to buy one of these phones, with geographic limitations and an invite-only system restricting purchases to help the company manage its supply, and not to leave itself with an excess of inventory. Shortly after the OnePlus One was opened up to the whole E.U. market in March, the invite-only system was finally ditched, letting anyone buy one.

Though the invite-only system will be applicable to the OnePlus 2 to help the company manage the supply/demand of the phone, it says things will be a lot more open this time around. Basically, it should be easier to obtain an invite when they open up next month.

As expected, the OnePlus 2 will run the company’s own Android Lollipop-based operating system, OxygenOS, out of the box. OnePlus has been teasing OxygenOS since last year, following a setback with the phone’s launch in India: OnePlus had intended to use its usual CyanogenMod operating system, but Cyanogen, the company behind the CyanogenMod OS, unexpectedly granted exclusivity to another manufacturer in the country. This fast-tracked the development of OxygenOS.

OxygenOS was finally launched back in April for the OnePlus One, but it has only been available to download rather than as an over-the-air (OTA) update. This will continue to be the case for the OnePlus One, but moving forward OxygenOS will be the default operating system for all new phones.


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