Oppo introduces new chip and AR glasses

Jiang Bo, general manager of chip products at Oppo, at the launch of the company’s MariSilicon Y Bluetooth speaker in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Wednesday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Move a part of local companies to boost R&D in semiconductors

Oppo unveiled its self-designed smartphone and its latest virtual reality glasses on Wednesday in a new move to boost research and development and accelerate its transformation from a consumer phone company in a technology industry in the midst of global competition.

The move is part of China’s larger effort to boost R&D in semiconductors, as they are heavily involved in innovation in key technologies and are expected to have a major say in industrial supply chains.

Although the second Oppo developed after the MariSilicon X dedicated imaging chip, the Mari-Silicon Y is not a successor, but a Bluetooth speaker.

MariSilicon Y can increase 50 percent of Bluetooth bandwidth compared to its top competitors, says Oppo.

Jiang Bo, general manager of chip products at Oppo, said that as a flagship chip with advanced technologies, MariSilicon Y can help increase the “sound” and “intelligence” in the user’s audio experience.

In an event held on Wednesday, Oppo unveiled its latest AR glasses. Weighing only 38 grams, the new device can make calls, perform real-time translation, provide location navigation, convert voice to text for the hearing impaired and more. The lenses support vision correction, says Oppo.

Oppo is one of the top 10 companies that filed virtual reality and AR patent applications worldwide in the past two years, data from Singapore-based R&D analytics provider PatSnap revealed.

The results came after Oppo doubled the resources dedicated to R&D. This year, it announced plans to hire more than 2,000 R&D talents, on top of its more than 10,000 R&D employees.

Chen Mingyong, Oppo’s founder and CEO, said the company aims to become a technology pioneer by investing in long-term R&D. “We have the ability to sharpen the sword in 10 years.

Oppo is one of many Chinese smartphone vendors that is stepping up a push to expand semiconductor technologies. Chinese partner Vivo unveiled its planned V2 smartphone in November, after gaining the top position in the Chinese smartphone market in the third quarter of this year, despite a decline in the overall market.

As of 2021, Vivo has launched two flagships, the V1 and V1+. The V2 uses an AI-branded graphics architecture, bringing comprehensive improvements to the on-chip memory, AI computing and image processing components.

Huang Tao, vice-president of Vivo, said that Vivo will focus on strengthening the ability of mobile photography through in-house R&D and innovation, the company added.

Xiang Ligang, chief executive of the Information Consumption Alliance, a telecom industry association, said Chinese companies are increasingly investing heavily in R&D in key technologies such as chips, AR and VR.

In the midst of intense competition, Oppo has worked hard to grow its patent portfolios worldwide.

Last week, Oppo and Huawei Technologies Co announced that they had signed a global patent cross-licensing agreement, covering general utility patents, including 5G.

Feng Ying, chief intellectual property officer at Oppo, said the move shows that both companies recognize and respect the value of each other’s intellectual property. It’s a win-win deal for both parties.

Last year, Oppo became the second most powerful Chinese patent applicant in Europe, according to the Munich-based European Patent Office. It is one of the Chinese companies that entered the Top 50 in US patent rankings in 2021, according to data from the US patent service provider IFI Claims.

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