CHINESE smartphone maker Oppo unveiled a feature that could make people walk away from the big players — a camera that has five times zoom capability.
The technology (which the company has patented) is a huge leap from most cameras on phones, which typically offer two times optical zoom.
The company developed the technology with inspiration from a periscope on a submarine, using a mirror to bounce the path of light entering the camera.
“The 90-degree design is the key to our camera set up,” said Oppo’s head of hardware, Dr. King Bai said.
The company’s vice president showed off the technology at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday.
According to Oppo, it took 106 engineers more than a year and involved the filing of 50 new patents to develop the technology.
As far as they see it, the new camera technology amounts to a challenge to rivals, particularly to fellow Chinese manufacturers Huawei who unveiled their impressive new flagship device the P10 a day earlier, and ZTE which has embraced camera technology with a wide range of aperture on its new devices.
“We are definitely putting a stake in the ground in terms of technological breakthroughs for mobile photography,” said Sky Li, the company’s VP and Managing Director of Oppo’s international mobile unit. He expects others to emulate it.
In order to limit the negative effects of vibration when using the zoom function, Oppo has applied Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) directly to the telephoto lens.
The result is a surprisingly smooth zoom and steady picture quality. Oppo had a number of the prototypes on hand and encouraged the crowd to compare the camera quality with what it was calling a nondescript regular dual smartphone camera.
The use of the periscope style design has also allowed the company to maintain the slim make of its future devices.
Oppo has not said when it plans to integrate the new photo technology into one of its devices, or if it will mean a slight departure from the mid-range price point it has exploited so successfully in the past two years. They even went so far to tell news.com.au that there was no necessary “connection between spending on hardware (research and development) and the price of the product.”
OPPO’S AUSTRALIAN EXPANSION
Oppo has enjoyed a swift rise in the increasingly crowded smartphone market to become the fourth largest smartphone manufacturer in the world in terms of shipments, according to market intelligence firm IDC. It’s the biggest in China.
It has done that by producing quality consumer-friendly devices for considerably less than the likes of Apple and Samsung who sit above them in global sales.
After turning its attention to Australia two years ago, it sought to gain a presence among retailers to enable it a stronger position when striking deals with local carriers. Currently both Vodafone and Virgin offer Oppo devices via a plan while Optus sells some prepaid devices.
Already in 28 markets in south East Asia, the company said it has plans to enter the US and European market soon.
The company’s latest phone — the R9s — focused on camera tech and boasted a 16-megapixel front facing the camera with a large f/2.0 aperture for the selfie lovers — an increasingly coveted demographic at this year’s event.
However due to its $598 price point, it lacked certain features such as waterproofing — an increasingly common feature on the market — and also didn’t have a near field communication chip meaning users couldn’t use it for touch and go payments. However, Oppo said it was keen to bring water resistance to its phones in the future.
It also relies on Google Android Marshmallow instead of the newer Android Nougat operating system which limited user’s ability to take advantage of running apps side-by-side, or using Google’s AI helper — meaning it is a step behind its competitors when it comes to software.
It’s likely that the future device which actually comes equipped with the new camera system will run on the latest Android software.
Online Source: The News