Oppo, the world’s fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer (tied with Vivo), is known for its innovation prowess.
At the company’s Inno Day 2021, it unveiled a slew of new technology that could pave the way for the future of smart devices.
Neural processing unit (NPU)
The company’s first self-designed cutting-edge imaging NPU — MariSilicon X — is built on 6nm process technology and combines an advanced NPU, internet service provider and multitier memory architecture. This means the chipset is able to deliver incredible performance, with incomparable power efficiency making real-time RAW processing possible as well as the ability to capture stunning 4K AI night video with live preview.
The chipset will make its debut in the first quarter of 2022 on the Find X Series.
“With more than a decade of experience in pushing the boundaries of image technology, Oppo has been behind some of the biggest innovations in the industry when it comes to camera modules, lenses and algorithms,” said Jiang Bo, Oppo’s senior director, during the event. “Our new cutting-edge imaging NPU is the biggest leap we’ve taken so far, which brings more power to mobile imaging systems and will create an extraordinary experience for our users.”
Camera phones brought a new age allowing us to instantly record any moment with ease. Even though camera features have become an indispensable component of a smartphone, the technology still has room for improvement.
This has led to companies using larger sensors to provide better image quality, but this requires a thicker lens, which is challenging when trying to keep smartphones slim.
Oppo aims to address these issues with a new retractable camera that provides an equivalent focal length of 52mm (2X optical zoom) when the camera extends, allowing for a large 1/1.56-inch Sony IMX766 sensor to be housed. It supports optical image stabilisation, autofocus and is flush with the rest of the phone when retracted.
The retractable camera takes just 0.6 second to fully retract for drop protection and is also splash and dust resistant, making it a practical solution to bringing a high-end telephoto lens to a smartphone.
Oppo Air Glass
Similar in concept to Google Glass, Oppo calls its Air Glass an AR (assisted reality) device. Equipped with the company’s self-developed Spark Micro Projector, cutting-edge micro LED and a bespoke diffraction optical waveguide display, it supports four different user interactions through touch, voice, head movement and hand motion, giving you faster and easier access to the information you need.
Built around a “monocle waveguide design”, Air Glass has a total weight of about 30g and can be worn like a pair of regular glasses.
“Oppo has been exploring the possibilities of extended reality for a long time and, with Air Glass, we have finally created a smart glass product that is truly within the reach of consumers,” said Levin Liu, Oppo vice-president and head of the Oppo Research Institute. “As its futuristic design suggests, Oppo Air Glass is set to revolutionise the way we view and consume information. The easy-to-use display can present key messages we need right in front of our eyes. With Oppo Air Glass, the world will never look the same again.”
Air Glass has a variety of applications, including weather, calendar, health, teleprompter, translation and navigation.
The company has also been working closely with Baidu to customise applications such as Baidu Walk & Bike Navigation and Explore Nearby for Oppo Air Glass. Through the Navigation, you’ll be able to receive instructions for travel by foot or bike, while Explore Nearby can display information about nearby stores and other attractions based on your location and orientation.
Oppo Find N
A result of four years of R&D and six generations of prototypes, the Oppo Find N is the company’s first foldable phone.
Pete Lau, chief product officer of Oppo, said: “New form factors are ushering in an exciting time in smartphone technology. Oppo has invested a significant amount of time and effort into coming up with a better approach to a foldable smartphone, experimenting with a range of form factors, hinge designs, display materials and aspect ratios, to create a new device that meets the needs of more users. With the Oppo Find N, we aim to change people’s perceptions about what a smartphone can offer and begin making foldable devices more accessible to an even larger audience.”
Unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold series, the Find N uses a landscape ratio for the inner display, which the company says enables a seamless switch between a 7.1-inch inner display and a 5.49-inch outer display. Using an 8.4:9 aspect ratio, the inner display unfolds directly into landscape mode so you can watch videos, play games or read books without having to rotate the device. When folded, the 18:9 aspect makes it easier to use the device one-handed and provides a more familiar smartphone experience.
The Flexion Hinge on the Find N consists of 136 components brought together with extreme precision of up to 0.01mm. The unique water-drop hinge design solves one of the biggest pain points in foldable devices by widening the angle of the fold in the display and offering a buffer when the display folds, which results in a minimal crease that is up to 80% less noticeable compared with other devices. This design also practically eliminates the gap between displays when folded, which not only looks better but also protects the inner display from scratches.
The Find N is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 CPU, up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage. A large 4,500mAh battery offers all-day battery life, while 33W Supervooc Flash Charge is optimised to charge to 55% in 30 minutes and to 100% in 70 minutes.
The device also comes with 15W Airvooc wireless charging (compatible with standard Qi) and 10W reverse wireless charging.
Oppo Digital Human is the company’s self-developed hyperrealistic virtual character technology that can talk, move and interact like a real person. It integrates artificial intelligence capabilities such as semantic recognition, feature recognition, voice synthesis, lip-syncing and dynamic expressions to replicate up to 30 different kinds of facial patterns and expressions, making user interaction more realistic and immersive.
Oppo says its Digital Human can also “see” real humans. Based on visual recognition, it can act as a virtual fitness coach and take on more tasks in the future, such as live stream host or customer service representative.
Oppo CybeReal 2.0
Have you tried AR shopping or virtual fitting online? Seen as a bridge between physical and digital commerce, AR technology significantly levels up our experiences. And if Meta has its way, then the Metaverse will be dominated by AR and virtual reality experiences and interactions.
Powered by Oppo’s latest spatial computing and positioning technologies, Oppo CybeReal 2.0 can provide highly accurate position and orientation in regard to the physical environment with a high interference tolerance but low power consumption. It is achieved by collecting environmental data and building a virtual replica of the real world using smartphone cameras and Bluetooth sensors.
The new generation of Oppo CybeReal 2.0 has big potential for developing future AR experiences and smart navigation systems.