Smartphones are doubling up as cameras: Tom Lu

By: | Published: June 15, 2015 12:14 AM

With smartphones taking over as personal cameras for many people, innovation is at its best among brands competing to capture the customer’s attention.

With smartphones taking over as personal cameras for many people, innovation is at its best among brands competing to capture the customer’s attention. “Thanks to the latest progression in camera technology, you find camera phones as good as or even better than some of the popular cameras available in the market,” says Tom Lu, CEO, Oppo Mobiles India. In a recent interaction, he tells Sudhir Chowdhary that Oppo will concentrate on its cool designs and the latest camera technology to stand out in the crowded India mobile phone market. Excerpts:

There are numerous mobile brands present in the market, including a lot of Chinese ones. Why should a consumer pick up an Oppo device?

India is a very attractive and price sensitive market and there is a certain section of consumers who are extremely technology savvy and looking for innovative and power-packed devices. The way consumers choose and buy smartphones is continuously evolving and that means you need to have a diverse portfolio of products and price points to appeal to a wide range of consumers there.

The current trend indicates that increasingly smartphones are doubling up as cameras. Oppo N3 is the first smartphone with a motorised camera which can get 64 MP Ultra-HD photography with 16 megapixel camera. Oppo PI 2.0+ is developed to provide innovative philosophy experience and is available on both N3 and R5. PI includes more than 15 features, such as 8 Beauty Modes, GIF and Double Exposure. Mirror 3, the latest phone which has been launched in March is also equipped with Pure Image with the price of Rs 16,990.

The other major feature that influences a buying decision is battery life and strength. With users spending hours and hours on their smartphones, battery life is one area that is seeing and is likely to see more innovation. Oppo is at the forefront of rapid smartphone charging with its VOOC rapid charging technology. Designed specifically for the needs of the customer of today who is increasingly using the smartphone for a number of functions like work, emails, entertainment, social media etc. The Oppo VOOC Flash Charge is capable of charging the phone’s battery from zero to 75% in only 30 minutes which gives consumers 2 hours talk time in a short span of time. Coupled with useful accessories such as VOOC car charger and VOOC power bank, makes the smartphone ready and charged at all times of the day.

How do you look at the present India mobile phone market?

The Indian smartphone market is growing at a fast pace. We believe that smartphone market share would boost rapidly in the coming years. With the advent of affordable smartphones intended for the Indian market and increasingly low-cost data connectivity options, more people are shifting to smartphones and mobile Internet. The Indian rural market is catching up fast and we will cater our best to the affordable budget smartphone segment and provide the best service and quality to the people.

We have already introduced products in the price range of Rs 6,500 to Rs 42,999 which gives many options to Indian consumers. A recent budget smartphone launched in India is Joy Plus inheriting the distinguishing design and features in an uber stylish frame aiming at the mid-range market. The smartphone market in India is constantly evolving and we intend to reach across sections through our budget smartphones.

Give us an overview of Oppo Mobiles India operations and product offerings.

We will soon be bringing more innovative products with premium quality to the Indian market. 2014 saw rapid growth in the smartphone market and tech enthusiasts closely followed Oppo’s performance over the course of 2014.  Oppo currently has 14 phones including flagship models such as the N3, R5 and Find 7, bringing its total number of 4G phones to 4 in India. Constant innovation by Oppo led to VOOC Flash Charge—the new charging technology independently developed by Oppo which is upto four times faster than conventional charging technologies. It gives consumers 2 hours talk time in a short span of time. An Oppo R5 device can be charged up to 75% in 30 minutes.

In 2014, Oppo launched its Pure Image 2.0+ image processing technology. Building on the specs of the Oppo Find 7 of 50 megapixel photography, Oppo’s N3 can get 64 megapixel high-resolution images. Oppo also launched the world’s first rotating camera smartphone in 2014.  The 13-megapixel camera smartphone features a 206 degree rotation that securely locks at any angle. This was followed by the recent launch of Oppo N3 where the rotating camera has been upgraded from a manual rotating camera to motorised camera.

How is Oppo performing in India? What is your go-to-market strategy for the India market?

Till now, we have received good feedback from the Indian market in terms of our product quality as well as the after sales service.

We have launched 14 smartphones in the India market and most of them have been appreciated for their aesthetic design and innovative technology. One of our latest smartphones, the Oppo N3 has been receiving great reviews from the experts as well the consumers. It is being touted as one of the best smartphones in the industry giving stiff competition to phones from other brands in the same price segment.

As far as market strategy is concerned, we are looking at more nation-wide channel partners so that we can satisfy the huge customer need at the earliest. The company also has plans to expand more service centres in the next one year. Right now we are retailing in over 20 major cities and regions, mainly through multi-brand stores, and we have started to partner with nation-wide retail chains like Flipkart and Amazon.in for online sales. We are also planning to build our showrooms and exclusive stores in a short time.

Do you think the continuous upgradation of mobile phone cameras will soon end the market of digital cameras?

A great example of how a phone camera is bringing social revolution to the forefront is the single Rotating Camera by Oppo that can function as both primary and secondary camera allowing users to get panoramic view along with your selfie at any angle.

Since the single powerful lens serves the purpose of both cameras, this revolutionary technology addresses the quality concerns associated with front cameras.

The Pure Image 2.0+ technology enables Oppo into the leading position of providing incredible photographic equipment within the smartphones, as well as offering a multiple camera design platform which brings a breathtaking and gorgeous user experience for consumers.

Are you planning to set up your manufacturing plant in India?

We would be happy to set up a manufacturing unit in India soon. Before stepping further we would like to see the road map of the government policy and how it is helping in the development of investors.

We are in the process of bringing in newer devices in India and have certain plans but cannot share any details as of now.

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