A lot of people may not know that Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus has its roots with another smartphone manufacturer from the same country called Oppo. Indeed the early days of Oppo had smartphones such as the Oppo N1 which closely followed the philosophy that eventually built OnePlus into the successful operation that it is today. Even though OnePlus and Oppo have separate operations and strikingly different product and distribution strategies today, it’s interesting to note that OnePlus remains a subsidiary of Oppo, even if OnePlus won’t often talk about it.
OnePlus doesn’t make too many phones, and the few it does make are invariably flagship devices with top-level specifications. However, OnePlus does collaborate on certain technologies with its parent company. One of these is Dash Charge, the company’s proprietary fast charging technology. It’s built on the same principles as Oppo’s VOOC charging, and indeed a Dash charger and VOOC charger will work perfectly in charging compatible smartphones of either brand.
Learning from last year’s precedent
Another key example is last year’s OnePlus 5. The device bears striking similarities to the Oppo R11 which was launched a few weeks prior to the OnePlus 5. On the exterior, there was very little to tell the two phones apart, with the exception of the logo at the back of each device. Even the camera module was the same, with a 16-megapixel primary sensor and 20-megapixel secondary sensor. The internal specifications were entirely different though, and were essentially what set the two smartphones apart. And while we didn’t necessarily think much of it when the Oppo R11 launched, the OnePlus 5 showed that there may be a lot of collaboration at play.
Additionally, OnePlus devices manufactured in India for India are made at Oppo’s manufacturing plant in Noida. OnePlus has informed us at the launch of the OnePlus 5 that this was simply a business agreement where OnePlus ‘borrows’ Oppo’s plant to build its phones, and on paper this is likely to be true. However, it’s just another sign that points towards what we and others have insinuated for a while now.
Oppo has announced the March 31 launch of the R15, its latest top-end smartphone. While the phone won’t be quite the flagship smartphone on paper, Oppo’s offerings are typically focused on experience rather than specifications. Even the specification sheet itself is meant to be audacious, with terms like 6GB of RAM, octa-core SoC and a 20-megapixel front camera. OnePlus’ approach is better targeted at ‘power users’. The specific chipset is important, the software features and update schedule are given attention, and the sheer value of the offering is played up.
The Oppo R15, in many ways, is a bit disappointing compared to the OnePlus 5T. It has less RAM, an arguably less capable SoC and a camera setup that comes across as inferior to that of the OnePlus 5T. It’s safe to say that as far as specifications and most features are concerned, the OnePlus 6 isn’t going to be anything like the Oppo R15. But the similarities are likely to be seen in two key departments – design and screen.
With the Oppo R15, we possibly have our first look at what the OnePlus 6 will look like. With a matte-finished metal body, similar rear design to the OnePlus 5T with a dual-camera setup and a ceramic fingerprint sensor, I’m willing to assume the OnePlus 6 will look just like the Oppo R15 at the back (except for the logo, of course). At the front though, is where the real teaser is.
The Oppo R15 is expected to sport a 6.3-inch 19:9 screen, complete with a ‘notch’ at the top for the front camera and earpiece. The phone will have a screen-to-body ratio of well over 80%, with slim bezels all around and just a sliver of non-screen space at the bottom. It’s beautiful to say the least, and is likely to be exactly what we’ll see on the OnePlus 6. And if it isn’t, I’ll be very surprised.
While we don’t know for sure when to expect the OnePlus 6, rumors point at a June 2018 launch. The OnePlus 6 has been confirmed to sport the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, and is likely to continue to feature the 3.5mm jack. This could also be the first OnePlus smartphone to be officially rated for water resistance. But no matter what it finally turns out to be, the Oppo R15 serves as an effective teaser for what’s to come.