The third flagship phone from boutique Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus is set to be unveiled on June 14, according to a forum post by company co-founder Carl Pei (via PhoneDog). As with last year’s OnePlus 2, the OnePlus 3 will also debut at a launch event in a virtual reality environment; this time around, the handset will also go on sale for a brief period exclusively in VR, in a multi-use space the company calls “the Loop” (to complement its Loop VR headset)
But the biggest news here isn’t even the launch details, but an important change in the way the OnePlus 3 will be sold: unlike the three previous devices released by OnePlus, it will go on sale directly to consumers without requiring buyers to present an invitation. The invite system served as a way for the young company to closely match supply with demand — and thus greatly reduce the cost of inventory storage and management — but the limited availability of the invite codes proved frustrating to would-be customers.
The launch begins at 12:30PM EST in the Loop, and for the first two-and-a-half hours, the 5.5-inch, Snapdragon 820-powered OnePlus 3 will only be on sale to customers in VR. At 3:00PM EST, open sales to all interested buyers will start, and OnePlus has indicated that the invite system is officially gone for good.
OnePlus began as a scrappy startup funded by established Chinese manufacturer Oppo with the promise of providing flagship-quality specs at decidedly lower prices than the larger Android makers. Its first phone, the OnePlus One, was a runaway hit, thanks to both the value it offered as well as a series of savvy viral marketing campaigns.