Apple hit hardest as global smartphone shipments continue to slip

Technology market analyst Canalys reported today that global smartphone shipments decreased from 2018. Apple is the company that was hit hardest by the shrinking market.

According to Canalys, global smartphone shipments fell 6.8 percent in Q1 2019 to 313.9 million. The research firm noted that this is the sixth straight quarter that global smartphone shipments shrank. Interestingly, the top five smartphone manufacturers increased their combined market share from 66.8 percent in Q1 2018 to 72 percent in Q1 2019.

Most companies in the top five felt the shrinking smartphone market. Samsung, Apple, and Xiaomi all saw their respective market shares decrease year-over-year, though Samsung and Xiaomi retained their top and fourth spots, respectively.

Global smartphone shipments for Q1 2019 Canalys

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Apple saw the greatest decrease in smartphone shipments — 52.2 million in Q1 2018 versus 40.2 million in Q1 2019. Talking with TechCrunch, Canalys analyst Ben Stanton said this was “the largest single-quarter decline in the history of the iPhone.” According to Stanton, China proved to be a tough market as iPhone shipments decreased in the U.S.

The only companies in the top five that came away unscathed were Huawei and Oppo — the latter saw a modest 6.2 percent increase in smartphone shipments. Huawei came out the winner, seeing a dramatic 50.2 percent increase in smartphone shipments. The sharp uptick allowed Huawei to push Apple out of the number two spot.

Huawei’s trek toward the number one spot won’t be easy, however. Samsung launched its revamped Galaxy A and cost-sensitive M-series smartphones to fend off competitors in the low- to mid-range markets. We also can’t count out Xiaomi and Oppo, which are performing well in India and have an increased presence in Europe.

NEXT: Confirmed: Apple, Qualcomm settlement killed Intel’s 5G modem plans

We asked, you told us: Oppo Reno’s shark fin selfie camera is neat, but is a no-go

Oppo Reno Hands On shark fin popup camera

Urged on by customers, smartphone companies have done their best to eliminate screen bezel. While this has resulted in some introducing features such as notches, others such as Oppo, Samsung, and Vivo have introduced motorized pop-up cameras.

Each company has taken on the pop-up mechanism in its own but relatively similar fashion. Oppo Reno’s camera module, on the other hand, slides up at an angle. This shark fin design is unique and differentiates it from the competition.

So we decided to ask you, are you a fan of the Oppo Reno’s shark fin selfie camera? Here’s what you had to say.

Oppo Reno shark fin selfie camera

Results

Out of the roughly 23 thousand votes across the website, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, just over 50 percent were against the Oppo Reno’s shark fin camera and flash module. Similar to past polls, voters on the site were the only ones to differ from the rest of the pack as they voted for the unique design.

Looking through the comment section, it appears as those most aren’t actually against the shark fin design, but instead against motorized/moving pieces on smartphones. Just like what we’ve seen with the Samsung Galaxy Fold, pieces of debris can quickly get between moving parts and cause damage. Many fear that something similar would happen, causing the front-facing camera to no longer work.

Noteworthy comments

Here are some of the best comments from last week’s poll explaining why they voted the way that they did:

  • Wonder what happens the first time you drop it on the top edge while the camera is extended? The current mania for bezel free phones is ludicrous. It offer no real world benefit. So you get a couple of extra lines of text on a web page. So what? And all the compromises that end up being made to achieve that are creating phones that are less functional, not more.
  • I like the design, but had to vote nay because of no secure face unlock and no water resistance. I’ve gotten spoiled by no notch, no hole punch, better than average water resistance, stereo speakers, dual front cameras, and 3D face mapping.
  • I think it looks good, tho a hole punch is better because it doesn’t have compromises like water resistance
  • If durability isn’t a problem it’s much more preferable than a punch hole or water drop camera. However, we rarely use the selfie camera so we couldn’t care less if there is one at all. I’m guessing we may be in the minority in that sense. Although we don’t know anyone personally that does that every day or even every other day save for special occasions.
  • I can see dirt getting stuck in there or scratching it up maybe the leaver gets broken it gets pulled on
  • Why people hate things that are different? I think it looks cool lol I welcome all change

That’s it for this week, everyone. As always, thanks for voting, thanks for the comments, and don’t forget to let us know what you thought of the results below.

Reservations for the enigmatic Oppo Reno are now open

Render of the Oppo Reno in green. Oppo

If you live in China, you’re in luck — reservations for Oppo’s upcoming Reno flagship smartphone are now open on its website.

According to the website, the Reno features a dual rear camera setup with a 48-megapixel primary sensor. There’s talk that the Reno is the first smartphone to feature Oppo’s 10x optical zoom technology, though there’s no mention of it on the website.

That said, Oppo vice president referred to the “Reno Standard Edition” when talking up the phone’s sample pictures. That means there could be a more premium version of the Reno that features the 10x camera.

Render of the Oppo Reno
Render of the Oppo Reno
Render of the Oppo Reno

Elsewhere, the website confirms the Reno’s slim bezels, large 4,800mAh battery, and four color choices — Nebula Purple, Extreme Night Black, Fog Sea Green, and Mist Powder. We’re expecting a Qualcomm processor, though we don’t know if it’s the Snapdragon 710 or Snapdragon 855.

Interestingly, Oppo vice president Shen Yiren said the Reno features a smaller 4,065mAh battery. As previously mentioned, the discrepancy could be due to there being more than one version of the Reno.

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Lastly, the website mentions support for Oppo’s VOOC 3.0 charging standard. VOOC 3.0 is supposedly 23.8 percent faster than VOOC 2.0, so expect very fast top-up speeds from the newer standard.

As of this writing, China residents can reserve the Reno in Extreme Night Black, Fog Sea Green, and Mist Powder. All three color choices come with 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Only the Fog Sea Green variant comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

There’s plenty we still don’t know about the Reno, though the website states an April 10 launch in Shanghai. Also, invites for the Reno launch event in Zurich, Germany went out to the press yesterday. It seems as if we’ll learn much more about the phone very soon.

Oppo’s ColorOS 6 gets a fresh paint job, optimizations, and an app drawer

  • Oppo’s ColorOS 6 is the latest version of the company’s custom Android skin.
  • ColorOS 6 takes better advantage of tall displays, includes performance-enhancing features, and a fresh paint job.
  • According to Oppo, the ColorOS 6 rollout is from April through September.

Earlier today, Oppo announced ColorOS 6. Available on the Oppo F11 Pro, ColorOS 6 is the latest version of Oppo’s custom Android skin.

Starting with the looks, ColorOS 6 opts for “border-less” symmetry that’s based on invisible lines and grids. That means stock apps now offer a proper full-screen experience with cleaner borders and other UI elements.

Oppo also takes “lighter” very literally with ColorOS 6 — much like Google’s Material Design refresh, Oppo’s stock apps feature plenty of white. Thanks to ColorOS’ theme engine, you can paint over the white with a different theme that might offer more colors.

ColorOS 6 includes other functional changes. These changes include the navigation panel now including shortcuts, an app drawer that’s accessible with an up-swipe on the home screen, “AI cold storage” that uses AI to freeze background apps and reduce power consumption, and “remote guard” for parents that want to monitor their children’s phone usage.

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Elsewhere, ColorOS 6’s Touch Boost feature promises up to 22 percent faster touch response. Meanwhile, Frame Boost offers up to a 40-percent improvement in frame rate stability. The two features are part of ColorOS 6’s Game Boost 2.0, which lets you change your voice for in-game voice chat, Dolby Sound support, and more.

In addition to game performance, ColorOS 6 also improves general performance and app launches with System Boost and App Boost. There’s also an improved night mode for camera stills, app notification bundling that groups similar notifications together, and much more.

As mentioned, ColorOS 6 is available out of the box for the Oppo F11 Pro. ColorOS 6 then heads to the first Oppo Reno smartphone, which launches April 10. Next up are the Oppo R15 and R15 Dream Mirror Edition, which will get the software skin sometime in April.

The Oppo Find X, R17, and R17 Pro will then get ColorOS 6 in August. Finally, the Oppo R11, R11 Plus, R11s, R11s Plus, A7x, and A3 will get ColorOS 6 in September.

All existing Realme will also get ColorOS 6 by June.

Oppo is making its way to the UK with the RX17 Pro, RX17 Neo, and Find X

Xiaomi made a big splash in the U.K. late last year, when it finally brought its mobile wares to the country. Now, Oppo is bringing its rival Chinese brand to the market, starting with three phones — the Oppo RX17 Pro, RX17 Neo, and its experimental flagship, the Oppo Find X.

The BBK company confirmed the news at a launch event in London on Jan. 29. It follows previous launches in France, Italy, Spain, and other Western European regions, with Oppo seemingly looking to gain a foothold in the wider European market.

Oppo RX17 Pro

The RX17 Pro features an in-display fingerprint sensor, a triple-lens camera (which includes a 3D Time of Flight sensor), and two batteries. The latter enables Oppo’s patented SuperVOOC charging technology which is capable of providing 40 percent battery in 10 minutes. Check out our Oppo R17 review for more details.

The RX17 Neo keeps the in-display fingerprint sensor, but loses a bit of processing power. Instead of the RX17 Pro’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 SoC, the Neo switches to the Snapdragon 670. It also drops from 8GB RAM on the Pro to 4GB RAM and only features a dual-lens camera (16MP + 2MP).

Both RX17 series phones offer up 25MP selfie cameras, as well as Oppo’s much vaunted AI camera features. In addition, both phones feature “waterdrop” notches which should be familiar to U.K. buyers thanks to the OnePlus 6T from Oppo’s BBK stablemate.

The main attraction, however, is the Oppo Find X and its mechanized “periscope” camera. In a novel solution to the notch problem plaguing near bezel-less phones, Oppo hides the front camera and the sensors used for 3D face unlocking in a mechanized panel that slides out the top of the handset.

The Find X also features Qualcomm’s (currently) top-tier Snapdragon 845 SoC, 8GB of RAM a 6.42-inch AMOLED display with a screen-to-body ratio of 93.8 percent, VOOC fast-charging, and a dual-lens rear camera (16MP + 20MP).

Related: Oppo Find X specs: Is this the most stacked phone of 2018?

The Oppo RX17 Neo will go for 319 GBP, the RX17 Pro will cost 549 GBP, and the Find X will unsurprisingly cost a premium at 799 GBP. You can pre-order all three devices from the Carphone Warehouse website (links below), with the devices official going on sale February 13. 

Oppo will face tough competition in the U.K. market, including from other Chinese brands like Huawei, Honor, and Xiaomi. While Oppo’s main market share comes from more affordable devices, the U.K., like most of Europe, is dominated by big-money flagships.

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The Find X should guarantee some attention in the short term at least. While Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3, which recently hit shelves in the U.K., technically snagged the spotlight for slider phones, the Find X is the only rival with a mechanized pop-up as the Vivo Nex never made it to U.K. shore.

Oppo is going beyond just a few product launches in the region too. The company confirmed a collaboration with London’s Royal College of Arts on a “product-designing project,” and reaffirmed plans to build a design center in the capital — making it the only Oppo design center outside of China.

Up next: Best Chinese Android phones

Oppo could unveil phone with 10x hybrid optical zoom on January 16

oppo 10x hybrid optical zoom invite

As the battle for the best camera smartphone heats up, Oppo is bringing a new contender to the battleground. A leaked invitation for an upcoming event highlights the number 10, which appears to be an indicator for 10x optical zoom. The event is scheduled for January 16 in Beijing, China.

Back at Mobile World Congress 2017, we took a close look at the 5x hybrid optical zoom arrangement Oppo showed off on a prototype device. While that arrangement never found its way into a production device, it looks like Oppo might be about to one-up its own achievement!

We expect the camera hardware to include an enhanced version of Precision Optical Zoom technology.

We expect the camera hardware to include an enhanced version of the Precision Optical Zoom technology we first saw in 2017. It is likely Oppo will use a periscope-style layout for the camera assembly. The assembly uses a prism to bend light by 90 degrees. Mounting the camera on the side should give Oppo more than enough space to accommodate the longer focal length. With OIS at the telephoto end, it should be possible to get stable shots even with the image fully zoomed in.

MySmartPrice suggests the first phones to integrate the technology will be the Oppo F19 and the F19 Pro. There are further suggestions that the two phones might have a punch-hole display. Additional specifications include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor. We expect to hear a lot more about this in the coming days with the launch event right around the corner.

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Personally, I would rather have a wide-angle lens that lets me capture a lot more of the scene than high optical zoom. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section.

Oppo quietly launches the R15 Pro with a Snapdragon 660 and 6GB of RAM

Oppo

Established as one of the top smartphone manufacturers in India, Oppo announced the R15 Pro earlier today. The phone is not to be confused with its higher-end cousin, the R17 Pro.

Starting on the outside, the R15 Pro features dual rear 16- and 20-megapixel cameras and a 20MP selfie shooter. As with a growing number of smartphones, the R15 Pro supports AI scene recognition. The phone can identify 120 scenes and automatically tweak the camera settings to hopefully take sharp pictures.


Meanwhile, the front camera supports several portrait modes and Oppo’s AI beauty mode. We actually tolerated the beauty mode on the R17 Pro, so the same might be said of the mode on the R15 Pro.

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The R15 Pro also sports a headphone jack and USB Type-C port at the bottom, a fingerprint sensor around back, and a 6.28-inch AMOLED display with a 2,280 x 1,080 resolution up front.

Under the hood, the R15 Pro features Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 660 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, and a 3,430mAh battery that supports Oppo’s fast VOOC charging. Unfortunately, the phone runs the older Android 8.1 Oreo instead of the newer Android 9 Pie.

Indian residents can pick up the R15 Pro from Amazon India for 25,990 rupees (~$368). The phone is available in Cosmic Purple and Ruby Red.

Oppo exec apparently confirms foldable phone for MWC 2019

The back of the Oppo R17 Pro

  • An Oppo executive has reportedly confirmed that it will announce a foldable phone at MWC 2019.
  • The executive also said Oppo would launch a 5G phone in Europe in the first half of 2019.

Oppo is no stranger to innovation in the smartphone space, having delivered the eclectic Oppo Find X earlier this year. The company isn’t stopping here though, as it’s reportedly got plans to announce a foldable phone in February.

Oppo product manager Chuck Wang apparently told Tweakers (via Let’sGoDigital) that the company would be announcing its foldable phone at MWC 2019 in Barcelona. Wang didn’t reveal any more details regarding the device, such as a launch window or specs.

The move comes a few weeks after Samsung showed off its foldable phone. Samsung’s effort features a 7.3-inch, 1536 x 2152 display when folded out, but also packs a 4.5-inch display (840 x 1960) on the front.

The news means we can expect even more foldable phones in 2019. Huawei has confirmed that it’s working on a foldable device, while Xiaomi and LG are also tipped to be working on the technology.

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Wang also told Tweakers that the company would launch its first 5G smartphone in Europe in the first half of 2019. It’s not known whether this would be an R-series device or part of its flagship Find range.

Finally, the product manager told the publication that it was also working on a phone with a circular cutout in the screen for a selfie camera (much like Samsung’s Infinity O display). This device is purportedly scheduled for 2020 — a while after Huawei is expected to launch its own device.

We’ve contacted Oppo to confirm its foldable phone plans and will update the article if/when we receive a response. Would you buy a foldable phone though? Let us know in the comments!

NEXT: 6 reasons to buy the OnePlus 6T, and 6 reasons to pass