OPPO-a hidden acoustic factory

The well-known management scientist Jim Collins mentioned more than a dozen companies in the book “Everlasting Foundation”, such as 3M, Wal-Mart, HP, Disney, etc., trying to summarize the fact that these companies that are still in the front line are in ensuring the everlasting foundation. What are the commonalities.

At first glance, some of the views and concepts in the book are inevitable contradictions. For example, it is emphasized that companies should not pursue profits too much, but have a vision. For another example, companies must conserve and innovate.

For this group of fast-growing Internet companies in China, perhaps the “eternal foundation” is inevitably old. Growth and speed are king.

But only in a stalled state can you discover great companies that can stand the test of time.

From MP3 to TWS headphones, OPPO Acoustics’ 16-year long-distance road

In the smart phone circle, OPPO is already the top company, but in fact, before OPPO entered the mobile phone circle, it was more like an audio-visual company and launched many bright products in the market at that time. At the same time, OPPO’s audiovisual heritage is gradually being established.

In 1998, the South Korean company Saehan launched MPMan F10, the first MP3 player in history. Because MP3 transmission is more convenient and storage requirements are low, it has become the mainstream format of digital music. Soon MP3 on the market has sprung up.

▲MPMan F10, the first MP3 player in history, picture from: techradar.com

OPPO was founded in 2004 and entered the MP3 market that has become the Red Sea the following year.

In order to break through the vicious competition, OPPO chose a different path from most domestic MP3 manufacturers. Its products pay more attention to sound quality and product design. In the OPPO X9 MP3 player, which is known as the “good start of domestic MP3”, OPPO uses the high-end Philips PNX0101 audio decoder chip, and comes standard with the German original Sennheiser MX400 headset.

▲ OPPO X9 MP3

From the front-end decoding to the back-end headphone output, high-end brand products are used to ensure the final output of high-quality music . At the same time, OPPO has also added support for two lossless music formats, APE and FLAC, in OPPO D29L, allowing users to hear more with MP3. High-quality music. In this way, OPPO broke through the limitation of domestic price competition through high-quality MP3, gained the recognition of users, and established the brand image of high-end MP3.

OPPO’s high pursuit of sound quality has also continued to MP4 products. Most of its products support dual lossless format music playback, but the sound quality is no longer the only MP4 product. The market and users often pay attention to multifunctional experience. For this reason, OPPO first proposed the Smart concept , Emphasizes multi-function and intelligent use.

▲ OPPO G11

OPPO has made more expansions on the G11 product. In addition to the common music and video functions, a larger color screen, it even provides learning and gaming functions, and you can see the common cross buttons on its game consoles by pushing the screen. design. Until the termination of the player business, OPPO has consistently ranked first in the domestic player market share.

It can be seen from the MP3/MP4 products that OPPO has paid great attention to communication with users in the digital audio-visual era.

While OPPO launched high-end products, it also affected the generation at that time. The current OPPO employee Xu Mingjing was already an OPPO user when he was a student. He saved money and bought OPPO’s MP4 products, and then because of his interest. Designers who participated in the OPPO internal test and OPPO co-created products, and were eventually invited to join the OPPO team because of their outstanding performance.

Although OPPO’s success in the MP3/MP4 market has been recognized, technological advancements always follow the needs of users. At the same time as the MP3/MP4 market ebbs and flows, OPPO on the other side of the coastline is also a participant. In 2004, OPPO established a company called OPPO Digital in Silicon Valley, USA, focusing on Blu-ray DVD players and other businesses.

However, there were not many users who really owned Blu-ray discs at that time. Instead, the most common discs on the market were ordinary discs. Even if they bought high-end Blu-ray DVD players, they could not take advantage of their advantages. This made many consumers little interest in Blu-ray DVD players. .

At that time, OPPO and suppliers collected poor quality discs on the market together. By enhancing the light intensity, adjusting the reading speed of the optical drive, adding filtering, etc., the dirty discs, eccentric discs, and polished discs could also be read better. , Which greatly improves the disc playback experience, and OPPO has made an interpolation algorithm for DVD discs, which has been recognized by users and has gained a firm foothold in the Blu-ray market.

OPPO BDP 83 Blu-ray player with interpolation algorithm, picture from: Wikipedia

After OPPO upgraded Blu-ray to 4K (3840×2160), it launched OPPO UDP 205, which not only supports 4K discs and video formats, HDR10 technology, etc., but also has a built-in headphone amplifier, which once again raised the upper limit of the audiovisual experience.

So far, OPPO Blu-ray has been highly evaluated by many international professional audio associations and media, and has won more than 100 international mainstream audio and video associations and video awards. At that time, PC Mag, an American computer professional magazine, said when awarding OPPO:

When people talk about Blu-ray players, there are only two brands: OPPO and others.

The experience of making headphone amplifiers during the development of Blu-ray products contributed to OPPO’s determination to improve the audio consumer product link. When Blu-ray DVDs were gradually eliminated, OPPO entered the headset field. In order to continue its previous high-end market position, OPPO I chose to develop a flat diaphragm product. Compared with ordinary moving coil units, the flat diaphragm produces accurate sound through electromagnetic drive. The sound is transparent and free of impurities. It is quickly supported by enthusiast users, and the experience on flat diaphragm headphones Accumulation also laid a good foundation for the follow-up OPPO to launch TWS headphones.

OPPO PM-3. Picture from: trustedreviews

After 2016, earphones ushered in a new form-true wireless earphones. Compared with wired earphones, the user experience is chaotic, and the experience advantage of wearing light as if nothing makes true wireless earphones become a hot spot in the earphone market. Mobile phone manufacturers , Users are chasing true wireless headsets, OPPO is no exception.

In 2019, OPPO established an emerging mobile terminal business unit, deployed a multi-entry intelligent hardware network, and launched the OPPO Enco series of acoustic products. In more than a year, a number of wireless headsets were quickly released, and in terms of product strength, we saw OPPO audio and video The inheritance of genes.

From the testing of OPPO Enco Q1 neck-mounted noise reduction headphones, to OPPO Enco Free’s application of ultra-linear speakers that brought good sound quality worth more than 1,000 yuan, then OPPO Enco W31 refreshed the entry-level TWS benchmark level with the ultimate cost-effectiveness, and then The latest OPPO Enco W51 noise-canceling headphones are a masterpiece, incorporating features such as active noise reduction, low latency, and good sound quality. The noise reduction depth has reached the same 35dB as the four times the price of AirPods Pro, which is difficult at the price of 500 yuan. I found a noise reduction product with the same product strength, which became a hot item as soon as it went on the market.

At this point, we can divide the 16-year road of OPPO audiovisual products into three stages: OPPO digital audiovisual, OPPO home audiovisual and OPPO smart audiovisual (also known as OPPO acoustics). In the MP3 era, OPPO wins with sound quality; in the era of Blu-ray players, OPPO takes into account the audio-visual experience; in the era of true wireless headphones, OPPO can provide consumers with more comprehensive products in the product. In addition to a good sound quality experience, there are Rich intelligent interconnection functions.

Advanced main channel, not only mobile phones, but also the layout of the IoT ecosystem

Although the public’s perception of OPPO is still a mobile phone company, as in the concept of OPPO founder and CEO Chen Mingyong, OPPO is not deviating from the main channel, but is sailing to a broader world, as he emphasized. , OPPO has long been more than just a mobile phone company, smart phones are just a carrier of OPPO service users.

In addition to smartphones, OPPO lays out the IoT ecosystem through the “three-circle scene model”:

The first circle: personal scenes; the second circle: vertical scenes, including home, office, travel, etc.; the third circle: new scene requirements that may burst in the 5G era-integrating scenes, breaking the boundaries between the digital world and the physical world, from three Improve user experience at all levels.

Of course, in addition to the most well-known mobile phone products, this three-circle scene model also includes products such as acoustic products, smart watches, 5G CPE, smart TVs, and AR glasses.

Therefore, OPPO’s future may really be like Chen Mingyong’s Weibo signature “Nothing and Nothing”, full of infinite possibilities.

However, the deeper driving force of OPPO’s acoustic product revolution is the change of the times.

The establishment of OPPO’s Emerging Mobile Terminal Business Unit, in the sense, is to follow the pace of the times to change, just like entering the MP3 market, Blu-ray market, entering the feature phone market, and laying out the IoT ecosystem. OPPO hopes to explore more extensively , To respond to user needs. The change in OPPO’s positioning is precisely the change in the needs of the times. This change is not about smart phones replacing MP3, card cameras and PDAs, but in addition to smart phones, different scenarios require different terminal devices.

But it should be understood that solving the positioning problem seems easy, but in fact, it is the technology that can support it.

Last year, OPPO’s R&D investment was 10 billion yuan. In the next three years, OPPO’s total R&D investment will be increased to 50 billion yuan. The focus is on cutting-edge technologies such as 5G/6G, artificial intelligence, AR, and big data. Especially the core technology, including the underlying hardware core technology and software engineering and system capabilities.

In addition to these R&D investments continue to flow to mobile phones, many R&D directions are not limited to mobile phones. Other categories such as acoustic products will also benefit from it.

Although we don’t know the specific results of the 50 billion yuan, the past audiovisual stories may give us some inspiration.

Gong Tang is a veteran employee who has worked in OPPO for 16 years. The products he has participated in research and development include DVDs, multimedia speakers, Blu-ray players, headphone amps, etc. It can be said that he has witnessed the development of OPPO audio and video to OPPO acoustics. Bumpy. Tang Gong said to Ai Faner:

In the early days, the acoustics area was actually quite chaotic, filled with many amateur enthusiasts and various metaphysics, but the gap between domestic manufacturers is not big, you just need to be a little better than others, here We also explored this situation at the beginning. We used some better components and made some simple modifications in the circuit design, so that we got the approval of some users at the beginning.

But when it came to Blu-ray and benchmarked with international manufacturers, I found that I was far from it. At this time, it is not a simple stacking. Each device actually has its own acoustic characteristics. You need to understand its characteristics, and then pass Effective design can achieve the sound quality you want. Then you find that you need to carry out precise design of the entire system, power supply, ground wire, signal loop, these all need to be considered, so that the performance of these acoustic devices can be brought into play. Relying on the so-called tonic devices to make up indiscriminately is self-defeating.

This is what Tang Gong concluded: Our own understanding of acoustics is improving, and our understanding of sound quality and design ideas are changing, but what remains unchanged is our pursuit of the most perfect acoustic experience for users .

Therefore, in different periods, OPPO also has many unique skills in acoustics.

For example, in the Blu-ray era, OPPO has its own clock reconstruction technology, using special circuits to solve the jitter and distortion caused by high-speed signal transmission; the power supply has noise reduction and ripple reduction designs. There are pure analog bass enhancement circuits and so on.

In the development of headphones, OPPO has also achieved the highest sensitivity of flat-diaphragm speakers in the industry.

These valuable experiences have provided valuable experience for the current development of OPPO true wireless headsets: Enco Free is a semi-in-ear headset. The bass of semi-in-ear headphones is very poor, but there is not so much room for increasing the power of the speakers. Therefore, OPPO introduced super linear speakers for the first time in the industry to increase the amplitude without increasing the volume of the speakers.

Since the start of MP3 production in 2005, no matter how the market environment changes, OPPO’s investment and research on acoustics has never been interrupted. During this period, various products have been available for a long time and a wide range, which can be said to be domestic consumption. It’s hard to find a second one among the electronics companies. This is conservation.

At the same time, from the MP3 of the last era to the current true wireless noise-cancelling headphones, OPPO acoustic products have not been left behind by the times, but there have always been boutiques. Whether it is the leading audio quality of MP3 and Blu-ray players, or the TWS headset products with outstanding low latency and noise reduction performance, they are actually the accumulation of technology and innovation.

Headphones are not just headphones, they are the entrance to future life

Recently, IDC, an international data company, released the ” China Wireless Headphone Equipment Market Report for the Second Quarter of 2020 “, which mentioned that China’s wireless headset market shipments in the first half of 2020 were 42.56 million units, a year-on-year increase of 24%. Among them, true wireless headsets accounted for 64%, a year-on-year increase of 49%.

In contrast, it is actually the “stall” mentioned earlier: it is difficult for the smartphone industry to grow.

It is also when the smartphone industry is stalling that manufacturers that can seize new opportunities in the industry can build new engines.

The upgrading of scene understanding may also herald a broader market.

What’s interesting is that OPPO first has actions, and then uses vision to explain actions.

In August this year, in the speech at the Asia Bluetooth Headset Exhibition, the OPPO acoustic representative also mentioned the direction of the future: “OPPO is also working on the field of spatial sound effects, and will deepen the sound effects based on user scenarios and force the user model for automatic calibration. , Auditory virtual reality and binaural recording and other professional technology fields.” This also fits with OPPO’s 50 billion R&D investment as mentioned above.

More specifically, with the commercialization of 5G and artificial intelligence, OPPO is gradually improving the 5G+IoT market, thereby building a future-oriented multi-entry smart hardware network, driving future development with multiple smart terminals, and bringing more convenience to consumers Life experience of smart technology.

In the 5G era, mobile phones are no longer the only entrance to the IoT ecosystem. OPPO is building an interconnection scenario with headphones as an important entrance. In the open ecosystem of interconnection, users can use headphones as output devices to switch between mobile phones/watches/TVs and other devices without any sense. And OPPO uses big data analysis and AI technology to combine the pain points of consumers in use, and through a smarter way, to bring consumers a better smart life. In the future, in more and more similar application scenarios, OPPO will use headphones as the entrance to improve the construction of the IoT ecosystem, and provide users with a new experience of smart technology life.

So we can also understand why OPPO Watch and 5G CPE devices that have already appeared, and look forward to the difference in the upcoming OPPO smart TV. Of course, we want to understand how the more long-term AR glasses will bring this IoT ecosystem again. Widen.

From these perspectives, OPPO is the most promising among domestic manufacturers and the most profoundly capable of making acoustic products well. OPPO has led many manufacturers in the research and development of acoustic products. The reasons for this boil down to three points. First Naturally 16 years of accumulation and experience, and then huge investment in research and development, so that OPPO Acoustics can continue to obtain the most cutting-edge technical support; finally, they have laid out a formed IoT ecosystem, which allows the use of acoustic products in a wider range , To bring users more intelligent and interconnected experiences.

Acoustic products in the traditional sense are players and headphones, plus derived amplifiers or cables, etc., but the acoustic products of the new era may be a mobile phone, integrated in TVs, and even in AR glasses. They are inseparable. In the future, OPPO will build a more complete system around the 5G+IoT ecosystem. Through AI technology, it will provide users with a smarter and more convenient control experience, and continue OPPO’s sound story. The times are foreshadowing, so acoustics exist not only at the moment the user puts on the headphones, but in various life scenes.

Only by relying on life, then ecology can be successful.

#Welcome to follow Aifaner’s official WeChat account: Aifaner (WeChat ID: ifanr), more exciting content will be provided to you as soon as possible.

Ai Faner | Original link · View comments · Sina Weibo