Oppo is a manufacturer from China that is a real force in its home country. Oppo came to Europe at the end of 2019 and has since established itself in Germany. Nevertheless, many users still do not know who is actually behind the company. TECHBOOK explains.
The real name of the mobile phone manufacturer is: Guangdong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications Corp., Ltd. Oppo is represented in over 40 countries, maintains a total of ten research centers and has over 40,000 employees. It is a subsidiary of BBK Electronics, which also owns other well-known smartphone names such as OnePlus and Vivo. In the first quarter of 2017, BKK Electronics overtook Apple and Huawei with 56.7 million devices sold to become the world’s second largest smartphone maker, just behind Samsung. In 2020, the group had a share of around 20 percent in the global smartphone market. Oppo is based in Chang’an District, Dongguan Province, China, along with its parent company.
The Chinese smartphone manufacturer Realme used to belong to Oppo, but was spun off from the company in 2018. Realme still belongs to BKK Electronics. Oppo also includes a cloud service called Oppo Cloud and smart devices running the company’s ColorOS operating system. ColorOS is currently also used as the user interface for Android smartphones. In addition to the telecom company, there is also Oppo Digital, which makes DVD and Blu-ray players for the high-end segment.
It all started with MP3 players
The brand name of the mobile phone manufacturer Oppo was registered in 2001, but only three years later – in 2004 the company started. The manufacturer’s first devices included MP3 players such as the Oppo X1, and Oppo only entered the smartphone market in 2008 with the “Smile Phone”. The most striking feature of the Smile Phone: the smiley face on the back, one eye of which acted as a camera and the other as a flash. Otherwise, the cell phone is rather rustic, with a classic 9-key keyboard, but at least with a touchscreen.
The first real smartphone is the U701 Ulike, which was presented in 2012. The device has a Mediatek MT6575 dual-core processor clocked at 1 gigahertz (GHz), a 4-inch screen and a 5-megapixel camera. Oppo only entered the smartphone business in 2017. With devices like the Reno R11S, which offered a lot of technology at a reasonable price, the company also attracted attention outside of China. Oppo thus joined other Chinese companies such as Huawei and Xiaomi, which are now also internationally known.
Top 5 largest smartphone manufacturers worldwide
In June 2016, Oppo rose to become the largest cellphone maker in China, with over 200,000 sales outlets across the country Technoxmart.com reported. In 2023, the company ranked 4th worldwide, with a market share of 10.2 percent extra. In addition to smartphones, Oppo also offers devices such as headphones. Originally, the mobile phone manufacturer also produced DVD and Blu-ray players. But in 2018 Oppo announced that it would stop production and sales and has only offered support for devices that have already been sold since then.
Because the mobile phone manufacturer Oppo, as well as Vivo, OnePlus and Realme all belong to BKK, it is more common for the devices of the individual subsidiaries to have a similar design. The BBK Group also uses common technical features such as retractable cameras and in-display fingerprint sensors in several devices for cost reasons. The design similarities, especially with some OnePlus smartphones, cannot be denied.
Oppo excels at innovation in cell phone manufacturing
While a few years ago the USA and South Korea were still in the lead in smartphone development, Chinese manufacturers have now emerged as real innovation drivers. In principle, Apple and Samsung are only doing facelifts, while competing mobile phone manufacturers such as Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo stand out with ever newer technologies. Due to the increased focus on new functions, things like an in-screen fingerprint sensor, retractable cameras and edge-to-edge screens became socially acceptable within a very short time.
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Oppo in particular experimented a lot with mechanically extendable cameras in order to maximize the screen size of the smartphone. In addition to classic designs such as the individual selfie cam that moves out of the housing, the cell phone manufacturer also has production-ready smartphones with entire housing parts that can be moved. For example, there is a design that looks like a shark’s fin, in which the selfie cam and sensors move out of the top of the housing in a triangle. This can be seen in the Reno2, for example. The manufacturer has also invested in zoom cameras, such as the Reno 10x Zoom, which provides a periscope lens with five times optical magnification.
In 2021, the mobile phone manufacturer made waves with the Oppo Find N, a smartphone with a folding display and the counterpart to the Samsung Galaxy Fold. It’s foldable along the vertical and is slightly smaller than the Samsung competitor. The manufacturer has now added further devices to the Find-N series. At the beginning of 2023, the Find N 2 was one of the best folding smartphones on the market.
License dispute with Nokia leads to sales stop in Germany
Almost four years after the official launch in Germany, Oppo had to stop selling its smartphones again in the summer of 2022. The reason is a license dispute with Nokia. The manufacturer accuses Oppo and OnePlus of using protected 4G and 5G technologies in their smartphones without paying a license fee for it. The case went before the Munich 1 district court, which imposed a sales ban on the two manufacturers.
At first, Oppo was still confident that it would soon be able to resume sales. However, the situation has now deteriorated. In May 2023, for example, Oppo removed all products from its German website, which has since contained no information about the manufacturer’s smartphones or headphones. All talks between Oppo and Nokia have been unsuccessful, so an agreement between the two companies is probably a long way off. However, users who already own an Oppo smartphone should continue to receive full support and updates for their devices. Here you can read more about it.
What about data protection, updates and service at the mobile phone manufacturer Oppo?
TECHBOOK wanted to know more about how the mobile phone manufacturer handles guarantees and services. Unfortunately, the company was not able to answer our inquiry exactly how they deal with defective devices. Oppo directed us to the support pages instead. This at least shows that there are no local contractors who could carry out a repair for the company. This means that the devices have to be sent either directly to China or to a country where Oppo has an official presence. In Europe, for example, these are Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, France and the UK.
TECHBOOK also wanted to know how Oppo deals with the issue of data protection, but the only answer that was very unclear was that the mobile phone manufacturer does not collect any user data. According to this, “name, phone number, location, IMEI number only if [Kunden] Contact customer service” and then only to document the case.
In terms of updates, the mobile phone manufacturer Oppo was similarly covered. It only confirmed that “updates direct to customer’s phone” would be delivered over-the-air (OTA). There is no schedule for updates, owners just have to keep an eye out for new updates.