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Oppo Reno 3 Pro is an example of what’s wrong with the smartphone industry

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Sahil Mohan Guptahttp://warpcore.live%20
Sahil Gupta is the founder and editor of warpcore. He has spent his entire career in mainstream media including stints at Gadgets 360, BGR India, India Today and more recently the Times of India Group where he led international franchise publications like Gizmodo India, PCMag India, TechRadar India and TechSpot India. Apart from having deep insight into consumer electronics trends and tech, he's also a music aficionado and pioneered the concept of thematic indie music events in New Delhi, India's capital. warpcore is a culmination of his career which has been spent on the intersection of technology and music.

It is a well-known fact that Apple makes 90% of the profits in the smartphone industry despite the fact that it is only the fourth-largest seller. How has that become a thing? Samsung is numero uno and is basically the only one on Android that makes significant profits while Huawei is number 2, now struggling in the wake of the US-China trade war whilst the BBK Group is number three with its quadrant of brands Oppo, Vivo, Realme and OnePlus making up a very strong number three. Of all the BBK group brands, it can be argued that Oppo is the oldest and now, the weakest. And it has become this weakling because of phones like the Reno 3 Pro which was launched earlier today in India to great pomp featuring celebrity photographers, anchors, fashion designers and one of the biggest tech YouTubers on the planet. 

The problem with Oppo is its flip flop nature and lack of direction in corporate strategy. While on one hand, it is the flag bearer of all things BBK Group, it has also become a bit of a farce. For instance, it spent the entire 2019 rejigging its strategy refocusing on a premium sub-brand called Reno with its North Star standing for the cutting edge in the smartphone industry, only for it to pivot in the most half baked way with a the Reno 3 Pro which is neither a mid-range phone nor a cutting edge device, but disguised as one, which leads me to believe that they can fool the hyper-intelligent genZ. 

  • If this phone was to use the Reno branding then, it shouldn’t have these specifications. MediaTek’s Helio P95 is a mid-range processor by every metric. It’s not even MediaTek’s best processor. While Oppo isn’t demanding iPhone prices for this phone, this phone is far from cheap for what it offers. At Rs 29,990, this phone has some stiff competition from phones from its own sister brands like Realme, Vivo, OnePlus and now even iQOO. 
  • Ideally, they shouldn’t have diluted the Reno brand with this phone as they spent last year hyping this sub-brand on the bedrock of cutting edge technology like the periscope camera and the flagship features and unique industrial design. Now, this phone offers a design that’s derivative at best and features that are far removed from the word “cutting-edge”. 
  • The other issue is the paradoxical marketing – the Reno 3 Pro is a phone mostly for the masses as it doesn’t have a single operative power user feature. But Oppo decided to burn a lot of cash to have celebrities come on the stage to talk up the phone — be it fashion photographer Dabbo Ratnani, fashion designer Manish Arora and even star YouTuber Arun Maini. Apart from Maini, you could argue, the other two wouldn’t even look at this phone leave alone use it as their daily driver. This is an example of how Oppo burnt a lot of money in marketing the product; instead, it could’ve done something more creative to drive the sales of the product? 
  • Banking on the fact that the phone has a 44-megapixel selfie camera isn’t saying much as last year Asus had the ZenFone 6 which had a 48-megapixel camera which was the same sensor as the rear camera of the OnePlus 7. This selfie camera isn’t even better than the one on Pixel 3 which is now more than a year and a half old. So, it is neither the highest-resolution sensor nor is it the best one. It is just the first 44-megapixel one which also reeks of brainless marketing. 
  • The features Oppo should’ve talked up were the display, the battery life something Arun Maini also praised a lot in his YouTube video and perhaps a bigger focus on the quad-camera setup on the back which is a strength of the phone. Heck, Oppo  could’ve focused on the fact that it has a 3.5mm jack and supports high-resolution audio which is rare but that didn’t happen. Even Maini’s video says that the phone’s processor isn’t the fastest around which is kind of questions the entire motive behind the collaboration and how illogical is the phone’s existence. 

Overall, the Oppo Reno 3 Pro feels like a phone designed by marketers instead of product people. The phone has some core strengths which aren’t highlighted while perhaps its weakest elements are being propelled which aren’t just pulling down the phone, but both the Oppo brand and the newly minted Reno brand. No wonder, Oppo had to bail as the lead sponsor of the Indian cricket team. Such stupid decisions will make sure they don’t have much left in the tank and exactingly, BBK is also hedging its bets more on newer endeavours like Realme which is growing rapidly on the basis of strong products and Vivo which had found a second coming, apart from OnePlus which has become the iPhone of Android.

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