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When Oppo made a promise, and failed to honour it

Are smartphones from the Oppo stable underpowered due to a technology launch that didn't happen?

Almost a year back, Sky Li, Vice President of OPPO and Managing Director of International Mobile Business had showcased two amazing technologies at the Mobile World Congress which promised to make a serious impact for smartphone users.

The first one was a new smartphone charging technology (‘Super VOOC Flash Charge) with which phones can be charged in just 15 minutes and the second was mobile camera image stabilisation technology.

So, what was the charging technology? Super VOOC Flash Charge technology was an improved version of VOOC Flash Charge that was introduced by OPPO in 2014. The original VOOC Flash Charge, as per the company, gives users 2 hours of talk after just 5 minutes of charging. Super VOOC, Oppo said, offers a full 10 hours of talk time with only five minutes of charging, and filling a 2500 mAh battery in only 15 minutes.

As far as the camera image stabilisation technology is concerned first let’s understand what is Optical image stabilisation technology. It is a technology which stabilises shakes while capturing videos and comes in two types, lens-based and sensor-based, but due to the size limitations of smartphones, all solutions in current smartphones are lens-based. What Oppo showcased was a SmartSensor which is claimed to be the first-ever sensor-based solution for smartphones, as well as the smallest optical image stabiliser of any kind in the world.

The mobile Indian has been regularly following up with the Oppo team, since the technologies were first showcased, to share details about when will the company come out with smartphones armed with the said technologies, especially the charging technology. But, sadly, both the technologies seem to be stuck somewhere in development. Though recent rumour and leaks point out that Oppo Find 9 might come with Super VOOC Flash Charge but is not a confirmed development.

Why were we following it up?

For one, it almost appears like while Oppo missed the deadline for thelaunch of the technology, someone forgot to tell that to the phone designers at the firm. So even their high-end models like the F1 plus come with barely a 3075 mHA battery, a definite miss when the focus of the pitch is on power intensive applications like photography. Leaving us with the distinct feeling that the firm’s phones are a shade underpowered.

Despite all the amazing developments that have taken place in smartphones technologies over the past few years, power management has been a pain point for companies as well as users.If Oppo had launched the solution within a few months after showcasing the technology it could have been a game changer. But alas that didn’t happen!

Also, the recent issue with Samsung Galaxy note 4 catching fire because of faulty batteries triggered us to further inquire if the technology showcased by Oppo is safe or not. We cannot vouch for it because it has not been used in any device and our emailed query didn’t elicit a response. We do wonder if something else went wrong in the testing phase which led to the big miss. Difficult to hazard a guess at this stage.

What are the others doing?

Most the handset player are trying to improve power management at the battery level by increasing the battery capacity along with software optimisation support. At the chipset level, Qualcomm has introduced the latest generation of its fast-charging technology Quick Charge 4. Quick Charge 4 will be available with the next generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. Snapdragon 835 is expected to ship in commercial devices in the first half of 2017. It is claimed that for a typical premium phone user, Quick Charge 4 is engineered to extend smartphone use by five or more hours with only five minutes of charging.

So now, it’s clear that while Oppo showcased a promising technology but failed to launch, Qualcomm has been able to project a definitive timeline for their innovation. Will they beat Oppo to launch? This time, it seems to guess, yes.

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