The OPPO Watch team has changed the “1+1=1 magic”

Good show

When the OPPO Find X3 series was released in February this year, there would have been an OPPO Watch 2 released together. This was the best arrangement. The release of smart watches as One More Thing after flagship phones has become a common practice among major manufacturers.

However, OPPO Watch 2 is absent.

At the same time as the mobile phone in front of the stage was released, the engineers behind the OPPO Watch 2 project team are scattered in Shenzhen, Xi'an and Dongguan to continue to overcome technical problems, so that this watch can be released with the OPPO Reno 6 series in more than three months.

However, the product status still did not meet their expectations, and OPPO Watch 2 was absent again.

"Forget it, if the development continues like this, the time and cost may not be affordable." Similar ideas have begun to be mentioned in the OPPO Watch 2 R&D team. After all, a thing that no one has done before is not a failure. shameful.

This technical problem, and what no one has done before, is actually one: OPPO Watch 2’s core technology "UDDE Dual Engine Hybrid".

This watch actually has two systems installed, namely Android and RTOS. The latter can be understood as a light system for smart bracelets. "Dual Engine Hybrid" is to mix the two systems and stand by at the same time. When using heavy applications such as WeChat chat and map navigation, the Android smart system is enabled; and the RTOS system is enabled when monitoring the number of steps and receiving display notifications. .

When users use it, because the UI and experience are unified, they actually feel that they are still a system, and they don't even notice that the watch is actually switching between the two systems.

▲OPPO Watch 2 UDDE dual-engine hybrid technology principle

Thanks to this technology, OPPO Watch 2 can have a battery life of three or four days in full smart mode, and can be charged twice a week, which is better than the industry average of one charge every two days, plus the Watch VOOC flashing on the watch. Charging technology initially solved the anxiety of battery life.

The first generation of OPPO Watch has actually adopted a dual-core dual system, but it is still necessary to manually select the system mode, choosing between smart mode and long battery life mode. The biggest improvement of the "Dual Engine Hybrid" is that there is no need to switch manually, and it has both intelligence and long battery life.

This is naturally a strong demand from users, and it is also the goal set at the early stage of the OPPO Watch 2 project: while ensuring stability and fluency, the battery life in smart mode is improved.

This is a bit unreasonable for the smart watch industry, which can only choose one of the two smart battery life before.

During the interview, OPPO engineers said to Ai Faner: This is unreasonable, that is unreasonable, but the "double-engine hybrid" will solve one unreasonable one after another…

From winter to summer, this unfinished watch was finally released in July, but this time its identity is not the One More Thing of the mobile phone conference, but the protagonist of the audience.

▲OPPO Watch 2 conference site

Looking back on the ambitions of the initial project, to the frustration in the R&D process, to the long process of reaching expectations for the final product, an engineer who had been silent during the interview suddenly became emotional. He said that this experience may only be once in a lifetime, although It's difficult, but fortunately, I didn't leave any regrets for myself.

This is the "1+1=1 magic" that the OPPO Watch 2 team combined the two systems into one, a good show that was postponed twice or even almost cancelled.

▲OPPO Watch 2 UDDE dual-engine hybrid technology principle

Props

Action speaks louder than words, but knowing is easier than doing.

It is not difficult to install the "Double Engine" on the watch, but it is difficult to make the Double Engine "hybrid".

▲Heavy application of OPPO Watch 2

The hybrid concept comes from the car. The dual-engine and hybrid watch is equivalent to the same tank of oil + a set of batteries, which allows the car to run fast, steady and far in various road conditions. With only a large displacement engine, it can climb hills at a fast speed, but it will run out of fuel after a short distance; with a small displacement engine, it can run a long distance, but it will not be able to rush uphill. Here, the OPPO watch team has found the big engine: Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100 wearable device platform (hereinafter referred to as "Snapdragon Wear 4100"). This is the current smart watch chip with the highest performance, which can ensure the smooth operation of the Android system on the watch.

In the smart mode ("hill-climbing off-road mode"), the performance of OPPO Watch 2 has also been recognized by Qualcomm. Pankaj Kedia, senior director of Qualcomm's wearable global market, bluntly stated that this product exceeded their expectations.

▲ OPPO Watch 2 is equipped with two chips

But the small engine made it difficult for the watch team. If OPPO Watch 2 directly continues the first-generation dual-core dual-system manual switching configuration, in fact, directly using the chip company Ambiq's Apollo4 chip, you can form a good dual engine, and the multiple delays and investment pressures mentioned above will no longer exist.

However, the requirements of the "dual engine hybrid" are too special. It requires the same speed before and after changing the engine, because sudden acceleration or deceleration will reduce the user experience. This has extremely high requirements for a small engine, and it needs to be small and big, because the low-power chip is prone to jams when relaying the Snapdragon Wear 4100, just like a sports car running uphill and then changing to a carriage. Flat road. This kind of ride feeling that is up and down, ups and downs, is the most uncomfortable.

When the Snapdragon Wear 4100 has an Android system, the watch screen can always run at 60FPS, but when using the first generation of Apollo4 with RTOS, the frame rate of the screen will sometimes switch to about 50FPS. In fact, the frame rate display difference around 10FPS is not obvious, but it will still be noticed by sensitive users.

▲ Dual-engine hybrid technology of OPPO Watch 2

Those who have seen the configuration table must already know the answer at this time. The final chip on this watch is Apollo4s. This is a small engine obtained by OPPO and Ambiq after 16 months of cooperative debugging. OPPO Watch 2 has also become the first product to use this chip.

When it comes to OPPO Watch 2, Ambiq Chairman and CEO Fumihide Esaka told Ai Faner that the entire team of the other party has shown a strategy of making decisions afterwards, the courage to come from behind, and the spirit of hard work. And evaluate this product: smart watches have reached such a battery life, unprecedented.

organ

In the end, OPPO got its wish and got the ideal magic props: Apollo4s chip and Snapdragon Wear 4100 composed of dual engines, seamless hybrid magic becomes possible.

However, if a technical solution has not been done before, then under the subdivision, this solution must have many technical details that have not been done before. For example, it is necessary to re-tune mature chips in a short period of time, which has a lot of reference for the industry; another example is to complete a seemingly impossible task.

For example, "system switching time".

▲OPPO Watch 2 smart application scenarios

When we use mobile phones and other devices, we press the power / bright screen button, the system is woken up, and the screen lights up immediately. This is a scene that we are too familiar with.

If you feel it carefully, there will be a short period of time between pressing the button and lighting up the screen. This time is generally around 300 milliseconds.

A more popular analogy is a game. Those who have played games such as "Glory of the King" or "League of Legends" must have a concept of this delay: a small delay is basically an acceptable category, but if the delay is too long, then There will be perceivable non-following, which will affect the game experience and even determine the victory or defeat of the game.

On OPPO Watch 2, when switching from the RTOS of daily work to the Android system, although there is no process of brightening the screen like a mobile phone, it also needs to wake up Android. If the switching time is too long, the user will obviously feel stuck.

In short, if the switching speed is not fast enough, it is not a "double-engine hybrid", but a "double-engine wheel movement".

Of course, the Android system is one thing good, that is, open source and open, manufacturers can optimize at will, as long as they are willing to spend time, there is still room for breakthroughs at this time.

To truly allow users to have a "seamless switching" experience, this time must be reduced to the shortest time. OPPO has spent more than 6 months for this.

▲Stills of the sci-fi movie "Terminator"

There are often discussions about time travel in science fiction movies. For example, if I want to eliminate A at this time, then I don’t necessarily have to eliminate A at this time. I can time travel until A’s childhood and eliminate A at that time. Then the A at this time does not exist.

In reality, there is no time to travel, but the OPPO Watch 2 R&D team has produced a dark and old mechanism. The R&D team tested a lot of scenarios, so that the watch can make predictions, know in advance that the Android system needs to wake up, preload the screen that should be displayed, and display it in advance. In this way, you can complete the switch without knowing it.

This is one of the tricks in "1+1=1 Magic".

Behind the scenes

The problem of system switching experience is solved by the mechanism that hides the sky. But to complete the seamless and non-sense "dual-engine hybrid", there is another thing that cannot be eliminated by clever tricks in an absolute sense: the Bluetooth connection will not be interrupted.

There are two systems in the first generation of OPPO Watch. Behind the two systems, there are not only two SoC chips with different power consumption and performance, but also two corresponding Bluetooth.

After doing the "dual engine hybrid", it is impossible to make the two systems correspond to two Bluetooth.

On OPPO Watch 2, the switching between the two systems is frequent and insensible, but the switching between the two sets of Bluetooth is different. No matter how optimized the middle is, there are countless disconnections and reconnections. This experience will Let the device and the user double crash.

▲OPPO Watch 2 series products

The technical characteristics of "Dual Engine Hybrid" determine that OPPO Watch 2 must use a Bluetooth to support two watch operating systems at the same time, and it must be scheduled according to system requirements.

This plan once scared off OPPO's supplier partners, and they felt it was impossible to achieve. Finally, Broadcom, which provided the Bluetooth chip to OPPO, decided to give it a try.

A typical example can be given. When a user uses a watch to connect to a Bluetooth headset to listen to a song, the Snapdragon Wear 4100 will perform collaborative processing to transmit audio data to the headset. At this time, receiving a notification from the mobile phone via Bluetooth is equivalent to coming to life. Does this notification wake up the high-power and high-performance Snapdragon Wear 4100 to receive it, or does it rely on the low-power Apollo4s?

Everyone knows how to use a sledgehammer to kill chickens, but when it comes to chip scheduling, the old watches are often "big nucleus, you go on it." When it comes to the "Dual Engine Hybrid", after Bluetooth knows that the notification is coming, it does not let the big core cheer up and receive the notification, but uses the small core to do it.

So it looks like a "dual engine hybrid", but behind the scenes there are actually "three-core linkage" of Snapdragon Wear 4100, Apollo4s and Bluetooth chips.

Seemingly simple technical terms can be realized more than just brain power, and sometimes technical research is also an individual effort.

▲The OPPO Watch team is overcoming technical problems

While tackling the "three-core linkage" solution, the team in charge of Bluetooth encountered a bug: in the running state, the headset was connected to the watch's Bluetooth to play music and the music was stuck. In order to reproduce this bug, there will be a strange scene in the Shenzhen Bay Talent Park late at night: several young men holding computers, running and stopping, frequently watching their watches and taking off their headphones, sometimes gathering together to discuss for a while, and then running again. stand up……

In the process of exploring the story behind the "Dual Engine Hybrid" technology, whether it is OPPO, or their partners Qualcomm and Ambiq, they all unanimously expressed this view: the smartwatch field is still very new and full of various possibilities. , Stable iteration does not apply here, step by step is far from meeting the needs of users. Therefore, this stage needs unreasonable magic, and leapfrog innovation will appear here.

This kind of example of entering a new field and striving to be the first is not uncommon in OPPO. The newly released folding screen mobile phone OPPO Find N also focuses on the common problems of the industry, and has made the hinge crease and system software adaptation. The breakthrough was recognized by the industry.

Whether it is the dual-engine hybrid of OPPO Watch 2, or the hinge and screen technology of OPPO Find N, it is likely that the industry has dived into a deep water first, found out the location of the reef vortex, and established buoys on the delineated route. Not only does it belong to oneself, it can also guide the industry.

In the plastic greenhouse of destiny, every cabbage that has been sprayed with too much pesticide once had a dream of becoming a pollution-free organic vegetable.

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