Just who is Oppo? And why you should know them

by: Andrew GrushOctober 18, 2013

Oppo N1 camera aa 6

Over the last month or so, you might have heard the name “Oppo” quite a bit as Android Authority covered all manner of teasers and rumors related to the recently announced Oppo N1. If you’ve found yourself wondering who Oppo is, then you’re certainly not alone.

Oppo is a relatively new Chinese-based company that has only recently started marketing its handsets to the international market, starting with the Oppo Find 5. For those in North America and Europe, buying an Oppo handset means ditching your carrier contract and buying an unlocked device directly from Oppo, or through a retail partner like Amazon.

Oppo Find 5

Oppo Find 5

Despite its (relatively) small marketing budget and the fact that it’s a fairly new smartphone manufacturer, Oppo still manages to pack quite a few features into their handsets and yet offer prices that easily undercut better known brands such as Samsung, HTC and Sony.

There are tons of ‘low-cost’ Chinese handsets out there, so what makes Oppo stand out? For starters, Oppo’s philosophy is one that we wish all Android manufacturers would fully embrace. Oppo believes in keeping a very close relationship with both its users and its dev-community, and strives to update its handsets on a “regular basis”, adding features and changes based on feedback received from its users.

Beyond that, Oppo has demonstrated that they aren’t afraid to try new things and think outside the box when it comes to hardware and features.

Oppo N1 aa 14

A company that embraces working closely with its users

Straight from Oppo’s about page, the company declares:

“Customers are the core of [Oppo’s] business, and satisfying them is the precondition to our existence. OPPO products are co-developed with our customers, with customer feedback playing a big role in both hardware and software development. For our smartphones, we have adopted rapid release cycles, releasing firmware updates based on customer feedback.”

Any company can spew forth claims that they constantly update or that they are actively working with their user base. The proof comes from jumping in and taking a closer look at Oppo’s recent activities, starting with their public forums.

Just reading through the various threads will make it abundantly clear that Oppo actively responds and interacts with its customers at a level that larger manufacturers in the Android world don’t. There’s also a very involved user base on the forums, which is a good sign.

More than just using the forums as a PR stunt, Oppo also pays attention to feedback from its users, and is willing to change strategy based on what they learn from working with the community.

As an example, Oppo has traditionally pushed out some kind of firmware update at least every other week. While their users loved this rapid release response, some also felt that this left the firmware in a perpetual ‘beta’ state.  The solution was simple: Oppo now has two different firmware tracks to choose from.

The Official path sees more substantial firmware updates every 2-3 months. The Beta path is for those who want the latest and greatest features and don’t mind taking a minor hit on stability in exchange for bi-monthly updates.

By working with its users and actively responding to feedback, Oppo has built a reputation as a company that truly understands its users and isn’t just about “making the sale”.

Oppo N1 aa 26

The Color ROM and Cyanogenmod

For those that like the freedom of choice, Oppo has you covered here as well. While most Oppo devices come with the standard “Oppo ROM”, many devices also have the option of running a redesigned Color ROM that was designed with the help of its fanbase and dev community.

In addition to the Color ROM, Oppo handsets also work with a variety of custom ROMs including Paranoid Android and Cyanogenmod.

In an effort to bring even more options to its userbase, the company’s upcoming Oppo N1 is even the first device to officially partner with Cyanogenmod since Cyanogen announced its plans to go commercial.

As a result of this partnership, the Oppo N1 will launch with the option of both the previously mentioned Color ROM or even a pre-installed Cyanogenmod experience. 

Thinking outside the box

It’s in Oppo’s DNA to think differently when it comes to dealing with customers and rolling out software, but what about the hardware? Actually, Oppo is often at the forefront of change in the mobile world here too, despite being a minor player in the Android game.

With the  Ulike series, Oppo has pushed high-quality front-facing cameras for those addicted to taking selfies. Turning to the Find 5, Oppo created one of the world’s thinnest handsets and was the first company to announce a 1080p smartphone – though it was beat to the market by devices like the HTC Droid DNA.

Looking to the present, the Oppo N1 continues the tradition of ‘thinking differently’ as evidenced by the use of a rear touchpad, rotating camera and Bluetooth remote control.

To be fair, Oppo isn’t necessarily first to use a touchpad on a smartphone, as the Pantech Vega is an example of another such handset. Still, a rear touchpad isn’t exactly a commonplace feature in the Android world, making Oppo one of the pioneers on this front.

Oppo N1 camera aa 1

As for the rotating camera? Oppo calls the N1’s 13MP dual-LED shooter the world’s first rotatable smartphone camera, and that’s basically correct. While there have been older flip-phones that allowed the front cam to be the same one as what you used when your phone was flipped open, Oppo’s solution is much more advanced.

Oppo N1 o-click aa 4

Last but not least for the N1, Oppo even introduced the (seen above) O-Click control, a small remote you can place on your keychain. The O-Click allows you to ping your phone if you can’t find it, take pictures and more. Bluetooth remotes again are nothing new, but including one with the handset is certainly a nice touch.

While Oppo might not be a household name in the US  quite yet,  they already are in China.  Companies like Oppo prove you don’t have to be a massive corporate giant to push innovation and performance. In an article in the South Morning China Post, OPPO executives said they will ship over 15 million units this year alone.

Is Oppo perfect? Of course not. Like every other company, they don’t always get things right, but they have always demonstrated they are willing to go the extra mile. Their willingness to work keenly with the development community, to push out regular updates to their devices, as well as their adherence to sourcing best in class components means they absolutely are worthy of your attention.

Are MEMS-based Smartphone Cameras the Next Big Thing? Oppo's N1 will show us soon.

Are MEMS-based Smartphone Cameras the Next Big Thing? Oppo’s N1 will show us soon.

The quality they’re bringing to their devices table is evidenced by the industry leading 1080p display used in the original Find 5 from Japan Display Inc. and the fact they’ll be beating Google (and every other smartphone manufacturer in the world) to market with the world’s first mems-cam equipped smartphone in their upcoming Oppo N1. Their ability to correctly source the highest caliber components clearly demonstrate that they are worthy of your attention, and that they are committed to producing great devices that they will work hard to support.

Bottom-line, Oppo isn’t afraid to back ideas that aren’t standard in the Android world, and prides itself in doing things differently than the competition. What are your thoughts on Oppo? Do they have what it takes to be considered a serious player in the smartphone market? Are they ready to compete with the flagships from Samsung, Sony, HTC, and LG?

  • vosg

    I like this company.

  • Siralf

    No chinese devices for me. Almost everything is manufactured there and I don’t like it but I can’t fight it. Nevertheless I can choose the company designers, engineers and Head Quarters. Never Chinese, that is a Dictatorial Regime and they copy everything without any legal or monetary punishment.

    • MasterMuffin

      Every time there’s an article about something that’s Chinese, there’s always at least that one moron who says all kinds of bullsh*t about all Chinese…

      • Sam

        No. it’s GSM phone so , it will works on AT&T and T-Mobile

        • MasterMuffin

          You high? :D

      • Siralf

        This moron was just talking about the goverment, no issues at all with chinese people or anything chinese other than that. There’s a lot of people suffering the consequences of being one of the cheapest places to produce. But I guess that is all nonsense and the important stuff is if it is top notch technology and cool.

    • Timmy

      Is that you Ted Cruz? Why are you concerned about the Chinese? Shouldn’t you be at a memorial or someplace working on shutting down the US government?

      • Siralf

        Yep, you got me all figured out. I’m european, you and your social groups, wouldn’t be life a scary place if people don’t stick to their group sterotypes.

  • Vardan Nazaretyan

    My second favorite company after HTC! They’re just awesome you know, just awesome!

  • Praveen

    I doubt MEMS camera will be used in N1 but in Find 7, as Oppo revealed the device before it placed the order and it didn’t show off the unique feature of MEMS module. So please correct that part if you don’t know it for a fact.

  • budi

    I visited one of Oppo booth on a show couple weeks ago, Overall impression their phone have nice looks, pretty good design. And recently there’s an increase of Oppo seller & distributor in my country (Indonesia).

    However, Oppo phone always lack MicroSD slot and removable battery. That’s a big deal beraker for me. Most people in my country bought phone once every 2-3 years, so they will look for phone with most feature in the cheapest price. Or in short, future-proof phone.

    I also read on their forum, oppo didn’t have any intention to add those feature in future. http://www.oppoforums.com/threads/why-no-external-storage-and-removable-battery.6383/

    So I don’t think I’ll buy any oppo phone in foreseeable future…

    • abhi

      Well. Look at find 7. The unforeseeable future has arrived I guess. :P

  • wezi427

    Can these phones be activated on the Verizon network?

    • Andrew Grush

      Unfortunately, Oppo’s phones use GSM technology – that means AT&T and T-Mobile for those in the states.

      • wezi427


  • monkey god

    They’re not exactly new. Theyve been making quality dvd players for almost 10 years (and more recently bluray). They’re known for their firmware updates that enables players to do things like be region free. I’m glad to hear that this is also transferring over to their phones.

  • Jakkie

    Oppostyle has not list it yet, but only available on Oppomart?

  • jlninja

    Why you should know them is simple. You want to support communism and be followed by the Chinese AND the NSA them by all means buy their products.

    • DrCarpy

      You could say that about any vendor who uses Foxconn. If you anything in your home that says made in China, that would make you a hypocrite.

      PS. Capitalism is a failed system. Except for the people at the top….

      • guest

        FYI, China is technically Capitalistic now. The party pretty much runs the country like a dictatorship, unlike the US, but the economic system is actually Capitalistic now and since they’ve made the switch they experienced some of the greatest economic growth in global history, despite being so deep in poverty. Their attempt at communism and socialism to get out of poverty proved to be a horrible mistake that resulted in even greater poverty. In order to have capitalism work properly, people need to act responsibly. That is why the Chinese government is so fearful of giving their people complete freedom, because of their fear they’ll begin to act spoiled and entitled to everything just as many in the US do.

        • fark

          technically? so technically china doesn’t have political prisoners right? lmfao you fucking muppet, stop talking outta yer ass

      • fark

        fucking ignorant

        • DrCarpy

          You seem mentally challenged….

  • Brendon Brown

    Oppo is pretty awesome ! Always the ones to first start something big!

  • jlninja

    What I have from China is not owned by a communist company and there was no choice. My next phone will be the moto x built in Texas. Either way, I refuse to directly support any communist endeavor. You obviously like the idea of secret murders and jailing of innocents as well as forced labor, child labor and other flagrant violations of basic human rights. Party on Mau

    • 86123maxxi

      Wow. China technically isn’t a communist country anymore you know? They claim to be communist but they are actually a capitalist dictatorship. Have you visited Beijing yet? Beijing’s developed areas are on par with major cities like NYC, Tokyo Central, Central London, Singapore, KL Sentral etc etc.
      Besides, your beloved Moto X maybe assembled in Texas BUT, you’ve got to remember: almost every single component in the Moto X is NOT made in the USA. The main chipset is made by TSMC (owned by the Middle-Eastern country, Abu Dhabi) in Germany, the display and RAM is made by Samsung and SK Hynix in South Korea, the camera module by Toshiba made in China, the microphones by Wolfson Microelectronics and sub contracted to various manufacturers most based in China.

  • Linh Giang

    No thanks. Had terrible experience with Find 5.

    Great design, but crappy quality and riddle with firmware bugs.

    Moreover, the non-removable battery gets depleted so quickly.

    Quickly got rid of it after a few weeks.

  • Joaomano

    oppo n1 will arrive in early December, can’t wait, http://www.oppomart.com/oppo-n1.html

  • kevin

    i love the idea that they made a remote! a big plus. nice job oppa. im watching you.

  • Groud Frank

    ” . Their willingness to work keenly with the development community, to push out regular updates to their devices, as well as their adherence to sourcing best in class components means they absolutely are worthy of your attention.” they deserve my money also. If they keep this up then they will have a life long customer! Even Google can learn a thing or two from Oppo.

  • Adon

    Looks like they have a promising future if they deliever such products

  • gregge

    A phone like this will never be offered by Verizon or Sprint. Too open and uncontrollable.

  • Samik Parekh

    Good Phone

  • Jerome Sioson

    I guess the question here is – is the build quality Oppo mobiles similar to Apple, Samsung, LG, etc.?

  • Dave

    Just bought a mirror 5s what a great phone, i was very cautious but its a fantastic piece of kit. $250 with the latest upgrade on android