Mobiles & Tablets

Creating a new size zero for smartphones

R Dinakaran | Updated on November 05, 2014 Published on November 05, 2014

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The Chinese manufacturer takes on the premium segment with two new smartphones



OPPO has been present in the Indian handset market for sometime, but has one major problem - the ‘Chinese mobile’ image, which, from the smartphone buyer’s perspective, is not really flattering. And they have only one way to break it - by focussing on quality.

And going by what OPPO has been doing over the years, it is not going to be a difficult task for the company. The only challenge for it now is to communicate it to its potential consumers. And what could be a better way than to bring out products that are way ahead - both in quality and features.

OPPO has been gaining visibility only during the last few months - after the launch of N1 and Find 7. The reason simply being that these mobiles have something more to offer than what is available in the market. One has a swivel camera and the other comes with superfast charging. Both the features are not available in any other mobile in the market, including those from the ‘biggies’ such as Samsung, (now) Microsoft, LG or Motorola.

Slimming factor

OPPO’s recent tech showcase event in Singapore was about two new handsets. The first - N3 was expected, but the second was a mystery. Some expected a smaller version of the N3. But OPPO surprised everyone by launching the world’s thinnest phone - R5 - measuring a mere 4.85mm thick.

And this was not the first time OPPO was launching the world’s thinnest phone. In 2012, it launched a Find phone at 6.65 mm, which was the thinnest then.

It is not only the size, technically too, OPPO has been on par, if not ahead, of other biggies. The Find 7 has a camera that uses the advanced Pure Image technology to snap 50 MP pictures in the Ultra HD mode and a Tracking Focus that focuses on a moving image so that we get clear pictures of even moving subjects and 32-second slow shutter speed.

With the N3 that was unveiled in Singapore recently, OPPO went several steps ahead. The swivel camera was now motorised, with just a swipe on the screen enough to rotate the camera. The swivel also got activated in the Panorama mode, obviating the need for users to move the camera or mobile. The turning camera took care of the panorama mode, swivelling up to 206 degrees.

OPPO seemed to be so sure and confident about their camera quality that they brought famous American photographer Bryan Derballa to showcase his works with the N3. Bryan claimed he found the quality in the N3 camera almost on par with his $5,000 DSLR.

In an interaction with Business Line, Louis Li, Product Manager, said the reason OPPO was able to bring out products with such high-end features was its emphasis on research and development. OPPO had had a team of experts specifically for developing the camera. He said what OPPO’s cameras were able to achieve now was the result of efforts spread over years of development, using high-level testing standards and processes.

And not many know that OPPO was among the first to come out with a 1080p display in 2012.

Charging up

OPPO also emphasised its focus on R&D with the super-fast charging technology (VOOC), which none of the ‘biggies’ have been able to match. A 5-minute charge is enough for a 2-hour voice call and a 30-minute charge recharges the battery up to 75 per cent. “You can charge it in the time you have your coffee,” said Louis Li. OPPO mobiles that use the super-fast charging technology are able to receive high voltage enabling them to charge quickly. Louis Li said none of the manufacturers, except OPPO, had been able to make mobiles withstand high voltage current. VOOC technology uses 5-level protection to make the high-speed charging safe. Even the connector has two extra pins, compared to a normal pin found in other phones.

OPPO’s R&D team looked into even small things such as the logo embossed on the mobiles. Louis Li said the logo underwent 26 processes to ensure the right colour and shade. The same effort went into the ergonomics of the phone too, with even the texture at the rear extensively researched to give a good grip along with a rich feel.

Louis Li was sure that OPPO’s extensive R&D that went into their products would be the differentiator and would enable the company to take on established players and other Chinese competitors.

OPPO is also ramping up its India presence. It plans to increase the number of service centres from 30 at present to around 200 within the next one year, according to Tom Lu, CEO, OPPO Mobile India. At present, it has no plans for exclusive tie-ups with online retailers in India.

(The writer was in Singapore at the invitation of OPPO)

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Published on November 05, 2014
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