Prominent Chinese smartphone manufacturer OPPO is reportedly diverting some effort away from its mobile hardware to focus on next-generation 5G networks, artificial intelligence (A.I.), and imaging through the establishment of the OPPO Institute. According to reports out of the company’s home country, the institute actually consists of several separate branches located around the globe. That includes the Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Dongguan Research Institutes, as well as others in Japan and the U.S. The central aim of the research covers the above-listed technologies but, as of this writing, there doesn’t seem to be a specific focus. Instead, research will be conducted across the board, the report says, covering software, hardware, and industry standards. The inaugural ceremony for the first of the institutes to open, in Shenzhen China, took place on March 29 and the others are expected to follow – although there’s no clear time frame for the opening of any of the branches in question.
While working to develop new innovations, and in support of its own research, the company will also be looking to further improve its standing with various universities. To begin with, the Oppo Research Institute has already formed a collaboration with Stanford University’s AI Lab, working to discover new “front-end” technologies and applications. Simultaneously, a partnership with the New York University will be working on research in 5G technologies. That cooperative effort also includes the Beijing University of Science and Technology, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and China Institute of Information and Communications Institute of Standards. Beyond even that, the company is said to have formed further partnerships with other universities and institutes, as well, while more unspecified partnerships are also being considered.
Of course, OPPO will face stiff competition in those spheres of the tech industry from others in the region, such as Huawei and Xiaomi. Huawei, in particular, has a substantial head start down the road to becoming a world leader in A.I. with its Kirin 970 SoC and upcoming improvements to that. It has also arguably already grown to fill the role as the world leader in mobile networking. So OPPO will have its work cut out for it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since competition is a key factor in innovation. These are also fairly new technologies, so OPPO stands to gain a lot if its efforts are successful.