The highly anticipated OnePlus 2 Android smartphone will be announced on 27 July via an online stream that, as an industry first, will be available through virtual reality headsets.

Following the OnePlus One, the second-generation handset's imminent arrival has been rumoured for some time, and on 27 July the Chinese company will use a handful of selected fans to help launch the new phone.

To make sure everyone can enjoy the launch event in virtual reality, OnePlus is giving away its own version of Google Cardboard, a means of beaming VR footage from a smartphone through two lenses into the wearer's eyes, for free.

Regarding the OnePlus Cardboard, the company said: "We're definitely losing money on this," but claims doing so will give fans the best possible way to experience the new phone. They can look around it, and discover a few hidden 'Easter eggs' during the presentation.

Talking with you, not at you

OnePlus said on its website: "In our industry, product launches tend to be the same. An auditorium, a keynote, and a seated audience. For the OnePlus 2 launch, we didn't want that barrier between us and you; we want to invite you into our world, because you're a major part of it."

The company added that the VR experience to debut the OnePlus 2 is "a new way of thinking about a product launch. We aren't talking at you; we are talking with you".

OnePlus says its cardboard VR headset is "tailored perfectly to the One," so it is not clear if it will work with other smartphones or not. Google Cardboard fits a variety of phones with various screen sizes.

But there is a downside here – at least for UK OnePlus fans. The launch event will takes place at 7pm Pacific time on 27 July – which is actually 3am on the 27 in the UK. Stay up late or get up early? You have a month to decide.