Chinese phone maker OPPO has revealed ambitious plans for 2019, particularly in regards to wearables. While speaking to Qualcomm China, OPPO CEO Chen Mingyong talked about the direction that the company would be taking this year, confirming it will continue to focus its efforts on smartphones, particularly in regards to ultra-premium products using the Snapdragon 855, though the firm also intends to break into new markets. This would include smartwatches and smart headphones, which are likely to make a debut this year.
OPPO believes that smartphones will remain central to the lives of consumers, especially after the impending arrival of the fifth generation of wireless networks which means most interactions with technology will take place through handsets. The company is striving to be the first vendor to come out with a 5G-ready smartphone, although other manufacturers are likely to beat it to the punch. However, at the very least, it is expected that OPPO will release a 5G smartphone in the first half of this year.
It is not yet known if the company’s 5G-capable phone would be a successor to the 5G-enabled OPPO R17 Pro or OPPO Find X, or if it would be marketed under a new name. The company also believes that the deep integration of the next generation of wireless networks with other emerging technologies such as AI and AR will lead to the creation of entirely new hardware and services, much like the rest of the industry. It previously announced plans to release a foldable smartphone in 2019 as well.
Perhaps the most important new revelation is that OPPO will be entering the smartwatch and smart headphones category in the immediate future. However, the company’s smartwatch ambitions are not necessarily new, as it was tipped to be working on such wearables nearly four years ago already. For some reason, the rumored product line never made it to the market. That being said, OPPO certainly has some core strengths that it could use to its advantage to come out with a smartwatch that could fill the gaps left by other Wear OS manufacturers.
Although OPPO isn’t exactly known as an innovator, the company is hailed for offering emerging technologies at affordable price points. Its handsets are also known for providing great battery life and its ColorOS Android implementation is often complimented as minimalistic and intuitive. All of these strengths could back the release of a Wear OS watch that offers a great user experience.
As for headphones, the market appears to be ready for more competition as it is expected to grow in the coming years by a significant margin. At the same time, OPPO intends to continue revising its entry-level products as well, hence strengthening its presence in emerging markets.
While it's still unlikely to attempt a serious expansion to the United States in the near future, its continued growth is making that scenario increasingly more likely, though it remains to be seen whether the tech giant manages to convince Western regulators it can be a trusted partner, which is something the likes of Huawei and ZTE failed at in recent times.