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OnePlus banks on India R&D to drive product innovation across markets

Topics OnePlus | Samsung

OnePlus CEO Peter Lau with the R&D team
Tucked away in a lane in the Nanakramguda Financial District, a suburb in Hyderabad, nestles the newly established research and development centre of the premium smartphone maker OnePlus. The centre which is surrounded by tech giants such as Amazon, Apple and Google is playing a crucial role in OnePlus’ global R&D, especially in the area of software development, and is helping the firm compete with players such as Apple and Samsung.

According to the company, the India R&D team is contributing immensely towards innovative product development efforts of the newly launched OnePlus 8 flagship series. These include innovations across operating system OxygenOS, camera feature and 5G network optimisation.

“Our team drives software innovations for global markets as well as India,” says Ramagopala Reddy, vice president of R&D, OnePlus India. “With our R&D centre in Hyderabad, OnePlus is committed to achieving long-term growth in India, and seeks to integrate and delve deeper into the ‘Make in India’ strategy,” adds Reddy, an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur who joined the firm last year after spending over 18 years across organizations such as Samsung and Smartron. 

The India R&D centre which has a headcount of 300 professional, houses three labs - camera lab, communications and networking labs and automation labs. The team focuses towards developing future technologies of the camera, automation, networking and connectivity. This also includes a special focus on 5G developments and performance testing efforts. The company has plans to invest Rs 1000 crore into its R&D facility in Hyderabad over the next 3 years.

The 5G technology (the fifth-generation mobile network) has been one of the company’s key product strategies. The India R&D team successfully worked towards delivering effective 5G network optimizations for the newly launched OnePlus 8 flagship series catering to Indian and EU markets. This includes equipping the OnePlus 8 devices with the latest technology such as VoWiFi (voice over WiFi), VoLTE (voice over LTE) and 5G.

“Our engineers worked closely with HQ and Qualcomm team, as well as Indian and EU network operators, to provide seamless user experience, and address user needs around common issues like low throughput, data stall, call drops and video lag,” says Reddy. “The team is already working with local operators in the backend to provide the most reliable 5G experience as and when 5G network is accessible in the Indian market.”

Experts said one of the key reasons for the success of OnePlus flagships is its tighter integration of hardware and software. Both are equally important to provide a seamless device experience. 

“By scaling up efforts locally in India, its biggest market in the world, OnePlus will aim to further bring innovation and tighter integration of software and hardware across its range of devices,” says Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research. “Furthermore, OnePlus has a large community in India which plays a key role in terms of product feedback to its R&D team. This can lead to faster development and time to market of certain features and product segments.” 

The OnePlus facility also aims at driving innovations that are relevant to the company’s Indian community. For instance, a number OxygenOS features were researched, conceptualized, developed, and tested by India R&D. This was done specifically for the Indian market, from product planning and design perspective. One such features is ‘smart SMS’ which smartly visualises messages in a card format in order to de-clutter the inbox. This way, the users can find all the essential information at one glance and segregates messages in separate categories such as promotions, transactions, and OTPs.

The India R&D team of the company has also developed a system feature which helps users manage their work and life notifications. Called as ‘Work-Life balance’ feature, it allows users to differentiate work mode and life mode using their OnePlus devices. These modes can be customised according to apps, connectivity, locations, and timings.

Cricket scores app is another special feature which OnePlus India R&D team customized for its users especially in India. The app makes it easier than ever to keep track of live cricket score updates, tournament fixtures and upcoming games. 
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