Foldables and rollables are all the rage in the smartphone market right now as we saw evidently at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year. Alternative form factors give smartphone enthusiasts something exciting to look forward to and are a shift from the same old candy bar form factors that smartphones have had since their inception. We spoke to Damyant Singh Khanoria, Chief Marketing Officer, OPPO India about the new form factor and their latest endeavour at a folding phone – the OPPO Find N2 Flip. With the OPPO Find N2 Flip being sold in the Indian market, we spoke about the target audience, foldables’ durability, R&D into alternative form factors, and much more.
Q. The OPPO Find N2 Flip is an impressive looking foldable smartphone. It is one of the most impressive clamshell foldables to launch in the Indian market especially with the outer screen integration. So, what went into designing this device and what are the learnings for future foldables from OPPO?
A. At its outset, the folding project started for us in 2018 and the intention was to solve for a new form factor. We didn’t want a foldable device just for the sake of having one, but to have a phone that could be your daily driver. That essentially meant it would answer to a very high standard, in terms of durability, screen experience, the integration of apps, and lastly in terms of just the way the form factor was. With the integration of the outer screen of the OPPO Find N2 Flip, we attempt to deliver an experience that truly feels special and very “OPPO”. So, if you talk about the Find N2 Flip, the battery life is by far the best in the industry, it sets the benchmark in terms of fast charging as well. The camera experience, again, with our partnership with Hasselblad, basically means you have an outstanding camera experience. So for us, we’ve not tried to bring a device to market earliest. For us, it’s really about being the best rather than being first. And philosophically, that’s the product that we bought out.
Q. With regards to foldables in India – especially a clamshell foldable – what is the target audience you’re looking at and what would be the demographic?
A. We spent a better part of the last four and a half years just thinking about this. The audience obviously will be people on the vanguard of tech, people who are wanting to experiment with new form factors. I think the target audience from an age standpoint is usually like 25 to 40-year-olds and people who are really tech enthusiasts. But we found over the last year and a half that there’s a real need to move away from the standard bar phones. And so we feel this audience is growing. This audience is obviously very demanding as well because they’re essentially paying a flagship phone price for a foldable. So I think what the flip delivers in terms of the experience is not something that people are wanting to compromise. But in essence, we’re looking at people who are at the vanguard of tech innovators, so to speak, people who want to have the latest and greatest. And it’s both men and women. But it’s a very large audience now.
Q. Can you give us some insight into OPPO’s R&D for their foldable phones?
A. There were two or three primary factors that we were looking at when we were creating this product. The first one was, once the Flip is unfolded, so to speak, we want to make sure that there’s a seamless screen experience. So basically, how do we ensure that there’s no visible crease? So that was the first pillar of product development that we had. The second one was essentially about durability. Now, as you’d imagine, with the form factor that looks like these consumers are worried about how long will the screen last? Can I be using this every day and still not worry about breaking the screen, etc. So that was the second one. Basically, in short, from a durability standpoint, we have a benchmark that meets consumer’s expectations. And the third one was just developed software solutions that make the users of the product intuitive, fun, which is why we’ve created a bunch of features in the phone. And these are not features that are being put into the phone just for the sake of it. It’s very usable. And so for us, these are the three primary parameters that we created the product around.
Q. You did speak about durability, and I think that’s been one of the major pain points of having people adopt foldables as a form factor. So has the OPPO Find N2 Flip been thoroughly tested for durability, and is it certified in any way? And how many folds can you tell us that it will last for?
A. Yeah, absolutely. So obviously, the joy of owning an OPPO product goes beyond your first unboxing experience. So for us, it’s really important for us to ensure that consumers have a seamless ownership experience from the day they buy it, right up to 7, 8, 9, 10 years. So in terms of the back end work that’s been done, the phone has basically been tested for 400,000 folds by TÜV Rheinland, which basically means if you’re folding and unfolding your phone 100 times a day, the phone will last you 10 years. So it’s obviously a device that we’re very extremely confident about. I think beyond that, from an OPPO standpoint, we also pride ourselves in after sales service. We’ve got coverage in India in over 500 cities. And so anyone who’s really buying this product is also going to have an amazing after sales experience of owning a robot device. So we’ve taken care of everything.
Q. I think today in 2023, sustainability is a big driver for every company. So what has OPPO been doing to reduce its carbon footprint?
A. Yeah, interesting question because we made a series of announcements recently actually around sustainability. Our ambition is to be a zero emission brand by 2050, that’s what we’re driving towards. But already I think there are things that we’re doing with the packaging with regard to just the development of our product, etc. One of the elements that we feel also drives the sustainability story for Oppo is the fact that we build our products to last. To give you an example, we recently launched the Reno 8, the Reno 8T. And those products, essentially, are tested for… The battery is basically tested for no lag, no latency, no loss of charging for about four years. We give updates in our products for up to three and a half or four years again. And so what that basically means is when you buy an Opo product, they last longer. So at one level, from a manufacturing standpoint, point is obviously a sustainability target that we’ve set. But beyond that, even the products that we make, we’re building them like tanks. So our hope, our endeavour is to make sure that when someone buys an Oppo product, that product works seamlessly for a very long time. And so on the Flip, it’s 10 years of folding and folding. On the Reno, it’s no lag performance for up to four years. Our battery technology again allows you to charge for up to 1,600 charge cycles. So all of these make our products special and more environmentally friendly.
Q. When it comes to sustainability, I know a lot of brands who have taken a dig at Apple or Samsung for not including chargers and quoting sustainability reasons. Do you think Oppo is ever going to do that?
A. For me to say something about a competitive brand, the choices they’ve made, not for us to think about or comment on. I think from our standpoint, we want to make sure that the consumer’s experience of owning OPPO products is seamless. The kind of chargers that we put into the boxes are unique. We have SuperVOOC technology that our customers can take advantage of. And I think one of the things we say also is you should always use the right charger with the phone that it’s built for.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by PostX Digital and is published from a syndicated feed.)