How OPPO is trying to get AI into 50 million users’ hands
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How OPPO is trying to get AI into 50 million users’ hands

How OPPO is trying to get AI into 50 million users’ hands

OPPO’s new Reno12 series is packed with AI features, but it speaks to a much bigger plan for the phone maker

Gareth van Zyl

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is shaking up the way we interact with our tech.

Not since the debut of internet-connected mobile devices in the late 2000s has the smartphone industry experienced such a profound transformation.

And one smartphone maker that is all in on the AI revolution is OPPO, which is launching a new brand of smartphones that are fully integrating generative AI (GenAI) features into its specifications.

With the global launch of the Reno12 series, OPPO is introducing a suite of AI features designed to enhance user creativity and productivity. But OPPO’s journey with AI is nothing new, as Lay Ren, OPPO’s CEO for MENA, explains.

“We have been using AI to enhance the user experience for many years. Now, with the integration of GenAI, we can better empower users with meaningful benefits in creativity, productivity, and personalisation,” says Ren.

OPPO is putting GenAI to the test, with a range of new features bundled into its device. These include tools such as an AI Eraser, AI Summary tool, AI Best Face, AI Clear Face and many others.

Highlighting the AI Eraser tool as an example, Ren explains some of its standout features when it comes to editing images more quickly and seamlessly.

“Simply circle around the unwanted subject, and AI Eraser will automatically remove it and generate the missing content with almost no trace of post-processing,” Ren explains.

OPPO’s AI Summary tool, which is accessible via an easy-to-access dropdown menu, can further take a snapshot of any text and then display a neat summary thereafter. As part of this, there is also the AI Recording Summary tool which can intelligently extract text summaries from a voice record and organise them into readable notes.

Then there’s the AI Best Face feature which fixes photos where you or your friends might have accidentally closed your eyes. With this feature, eyes magically reopen with the click of a button.

AI Clear Face is another tool that helps increase clarity and reduces distortion for up to ten people in a photo, thereby making sure that nobody is left out with a blurry image.

These AI advancements have already resonated in China where the device was first launched to market to much applause, Ren says.

“The launch of the Reno 12 series has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response. The tagline ‘Tap into AI’ showcases our commitment to making AI accessible to everyone,” Ren notes.

What you need to know about the Reno12 series

On a comparative basis, the Reno12 and Reno12 Pro are two devices that offer similar specifications. Where they differ, though, is in the different colours. Also, the Reno12 Pro comes in a more metallic finish.

Democratising AI

OPPO has set an ambitious goal to integrate AI across its entire smartphone lineup by the end of 2024.

“With the launch of ChatGPT in 2022, GenAI has exploded in popularity, presenting huge challenges and opportunities to all industries. We believe that following feature phones and smartphones, artificial intelligence, represented by generative AI, will lead the smartphone industry into the third stage: the era of AI phones,” says Ren.

This vision extends beyond its flagship models. OPPO aims to bring GenAI to all its product lines, ensuring that around 50 million OPPO AI Phones will be in users’ hands globally by the end of the year.

“Guided by our corporate mission ‘Technology for mankind, Kindness for the world,’ OPPO believes that AI should not remain exclusive to just flagship phones but should be accessible to more users around the world,” Ren emphasises.

Ren says these features will simplify everyday tasks.

“Imagine receiving an audio file from a meeting with a request to summarise key points. With AI Recording Summary, you can get the whole job done in no time,” Ren says.

AI Speak is another innovative feature that can read out news articles or emails while users go about their morning routines.

“So, while I am getting ready — washing my face or brushing my teeth — I can still catch up on what’s going on today,” Ren adds.

Cutting-Edge R&D

OPPO’s AI advancements are underpinned by a series of strategic partnerships and robust research and development infrastructure.

The establishment of OPPO’s AI R&D Centre in Shenzhen, China also plays a crucial role in developing and implementing these features.

“The AI R&D Centre leverages our extensive R&D infrastructure to develop solutions that are not only cutting-edge but also user-friendly and widely available,” Ren explains.

Collaborations with industry giants such as Google, Microsoft, and phone chipmaker MediaTek further enhance OPPO’s AI capabilities.

“In partnership with Google, OPPO’s Reno 12 series will feature the Google Gemini family LLMs, bringing OPPO users even more innovative and convenient AI features,” Ren reveals.

These partnerships ensure that OPPO devices benefit from the latest advancements in AI technology.

MediaTek’s development of chipsets with dedicated AI processing units is particularly noteworthy.

“On the Reno 12 series, we’re welcoming the global debut of the MediaTek Dimensity 7300-Energy chip, designed for energy efficiency. This chip unlocks the best battery life on the new Reno 12 series, built on a 4nm flagship process,” Ren states.

Such collaborations are targeted at resulting in superior performance and capabilities for OPPO smartphones.

Patents and IP

One indicator of how seriously OPPO is taking the AI revolution is the number of patents it has registered in this space.

With over 5,399 AI-related patents globally, OPPO has established itself as a leader in smartphone AI technology. Of these patents, the company has registered 3,796 in the space of utility AI imaging.

Among the Intellectual Property protected here is that of its AI Eraser feature, among many more.

OPPO’s AI-driven advancements are also evident in their flagship models, even those from previous years.

“Many regard the Find series as one of the best camera phones. The key reason is our breakthrough HyperTone Image Engine, which includes a series of AI algorithms to improve clarity, reduce noise, and enhance dynamic range,” Ren explains.

Additionally, OPPO’s Trinity Engine is designed to ensure that the brand’s hardware and software offer a smoother experience, even after years of use. Increasingly, this will become vital in powering the AI era.

The Trinity engine comprises ​​three key components: ROM Vitalisation, RAM Vitalisation, and CPU Vitalisation.

ROM Vitalisation frees up more memory space by compressing app data and merging duplicate files to address performance degradation issues caused by memory filling up over the long term. RAM Vitalisation works by reconstructing Android’s underlying RAM mechanism and employing specialised techniques to accelerate app launch speeds and improve the level of fluidity when switching between apps. Finally, CPU Vitalisation uses a sophisticated computing power model that can precisely schedule power resources while determining the best balance between performance and power consumption.

User-Centric AI, privacy

In February this year, OPPO revealed the establishment of its new AI Centre in Shenzhen, China.

Through dedicated research and development into AI and its applications, the centre aims to further strengthen OPPO’s AI capabilities and explore a broader range of user-centric AI products and features that will enable the company to bring users the latest experiences at the forefront of AI.

Already, OPPO has developed a reputation for pioneering several of its own large language models. These models comprise the basic functioning of any generative Artificial Intelligence system.

One of the company’s most significant breakthroughs is the deployment of a large language model (LLM) with 7 billion parameters directly on the device. This advancement allows for fast transcription, cross-device collaboration, and seamless information processing.

“We achieved compressing the 7 billion parameters module from 28GB to 3.5GB for ROM and optimised performance like consumption and latency,” Ren explains. This deep optimisation enables users to enjoy AI features like the AI Eraser and AI Summary on-device without an internet connection.

But there is much more that the centre will be working on, as Ren reveals.

“In addition to large language models, we’ve also worked on large vision models and multimodality technology, which helps users gain a comprehensive understanding of information from multiple media forms,” Ren says.

He further notes that innovations in AI-driven image creation, productivity tools, personalised content creation, and AI-powered mobile office solutions are among the exciting developments currently underway.

But as AI becomes more integrated into daily life, privacy concerns are paramount. OPPO is also committed to ensuring user data remains secure while providing robust AI functionalities.

“OPPO strictly complies with local laws and regulations and has invested in comprehensive privacy protection and data encryption technologies,” Ren assures.

The company has further passed stringent security certifications from international standard organisations, demonstrating its dedication to data security and privacy protection, he adds.

Underpinning the company’s focus on this latest tech trend is getting the power of artificial intelligence into as many hands as possible.

“We’re living in an AI era, and smartphones are the most important personal AI devices. OPPO aims to make AI phones accessible to everyone, enabling a truly intelligent mobile experience,” Ren says.

“​​It can be said that generative AI gives artificial intelligence true creativity for the first time. With this creativity, many industries could be reshaped, including smartphones,” he concludes.

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