Is the OnePlus 2 a flagship killer? Well, we don’t know yet – you will be getting our initial impressions shortly, though. What we DO know, however, is that OnePlus might just have pulled off a coup of sorts with its Virtual Reality (VR) broadcast of the launch. Yes, it was not perfect – if your transmission got disconnected, you had no option but to start watching it again from the beginning, which was a trifle irritating. And there was no “live” feel to the event – no loud cheers and applause.
But the advantages of the format became clear a mere few hours later as we walked around in the corridors of a hotel, waiting for a ‘real’ event to begin. Things got underway almost an hour late, one had to wrestle to get a seat, and well, as ever so often, there was a slight problem with some of the slides. Contrast this with what OnePlus had managed – even its own event in Delhi seemed comparatively disorganised in comparison. Let’s summarise what the company managed with its VR event:
- There was no hassle of getting to the venue or battling traffic
- You did not have to worry about getting a good seat – everyone had the same view. We cannot overstate the importance of this.
- The event started and ended at a fixed time – once again, this is very much a rarity. Things often get held up in the real world because certain members of the media or the presentation team arrive fashionably late.
- Nothing went wrong with the presentation from the OnePlus side, as it had been all prepared and edited in advance. Human error? No chance here. Mind you, bandwidth headaches did scuttle some of the experience.
- There was no battle for copies of press releases and press kits. And there were no “gifts” to wage war over. The release was mailed to us within minutes of the event’s ending.
- Logistically, it was incredibly simple for OnePlus: no venue booking, no working out of menus, no worrying about equipment working out, and a host of other hassles besides. Heck, it even made a lot of people pay for the privilege of watching the event, albeit via its super affordable OnePLus Cardboard.
- From the media side, well, we could start filing our stories right from the moment the event finished. There was no rush to “exchange cards”, or hunting around for a Wi-Fi hotspot or place to sit.
In short, OnePlus was able to get the message about its product across to us without our having to move too far from our seats or wreak havoc with our schedules. We had seen the product, got the release, and were back to writing our stories in less than an hour. You know, that sort of thing simply does not happen. And while some might complain about not seeing people in the flesh or being able to ‘touch and feel’ the product (quite a task, given some of argy bargy that happens at the so-called ‘hands-on’ zone of launches), we rather liked it all – speaking personally, I prefer a more leisurely look at a product than a hurried hands-on with ten people yelling at me to get a move on.
Our only request: perhaps space for a live question and answer session. And oh yes, the ability to resume watching the broadcast from where it got disconnected.
No, we cannot say that the OnePlus 2 is a flagship killer yet. What we can say however say is that it might just kill the way in which some flagship events are held. Given the way things stand, we hope it does. Well, Nokia, of all companies, is trying to make it easier for you to produce such virtual reality launches.