At a time where most smartphone names are focusing on offering camera-centric devices to allure consumers, one brand decided to take the path less traveled. As the world became more and more dependent on technology and consumers grew more reliant on their devices for daily activities, OPPO underscored a whole new approach — to highlight battery life. After all, what good does a set of high-performing specs and features bring if the smartphone itself doesn’t have enough power to deliver it?
When the OPPO Find 7 was launched in 2014, as expected, news outlets and tech blogs were filled with headlines about the device. But during that time, one thing was different. Apart from a 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel selfie shooter, and an Android 4.3 OS with Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 — specs that are considered high-end then — OPPO made a noise because of its VOOC flash charging technology.
The man behind this breakthrough fittingly called the “father of flash charge” and the Chief Charging Technology Scientist and Senior Director of Hardware Engineering at OPPO, Jeff Zhang, told the Manila Bulletin that among the factors that pushed him and his team to develop flash charging is because they, too, didn’t want to wait too long to have their smartphones fully charged.
“Around 2012, we observed that mobile phone batteries with a capacity of over 2500mAh became trendy and were soon followed by increasing demands for faster charging time. At the same time, we also noticed that the industry was hitting a bottleneck on the heating problems. Therefore, we provided our users with a fast and safe charging solution that has become the focus of our exploration and research,” Zhang said.
“As both fans of tech and consumers of electronic products, we couldn’t endure the slow battery charging speed at that time, which also drove us to make a breakthrough,” he added.
What started as a solution to the “low battery anxiety” of smartphone users has evolved into a smart feature that continues to bring improved user experience and quality of life. OPPO’s flash charging technology allows users to charge their smartphones in as fast as 15 minutes. With this, consumers are given more time to attend to their daily activities that are now commonly done through virtual platforms and services accessible via mobile phones.
“We think that flash charging technology has significantly changed our users’ charging habits and charging environment. It only allows users to charge their phones at a fragmented time, but also creates more possibilities in their daily scenes of working and living, which is undoubtedly beneficial to the whole smartphone industry,” Zhang said.
As Zhang has mentioned, among the important factors they took into consideration in developing OPPO’s flash charging technology is safety. Thankfully, through his expertise combined with OPPO’s state-of-the-art machinery, this is something they can assure their users.
“I believe that ensuring safety is an essential precondition while achieving faster-charging speed is the purpose,” the OPPO executive said.
“Facing the transition from 3G to 4G at that time, we learned that the pain point of heating problems stemming from using the phone while charging has always been an issue. Therefore, we started to explore the low-voltage and high-current direct charge solution,” Zhang added.
This resulted in OPPO becoming the first mobile phone brand to customize 1.5C fast-charging batteries and adapters as they found the middle ground to reduce heat and charging time for smartphones.
Zhang shared that part of the process to lock in safety for OPPO’s fast-charging technology involves a series of stringent internal tests to determine the power and the limits of the batteries.
“For example, we will perform an aging test on the battery under the extreme conditions of 65° high temperature and 95° humidity. Since the cycle life of a battery is an important indicator besides battery safety, we will also test the batteries after more than 900 cycles of charging and discharging in a period of 3-4 months, to ensure that it far exceeds the industry standard,” he said.
“We built systematic protection from customized hardware selection and software algorithm. We strictly abide by the boundaries of the lithium-ion batteries specification, not only did we stay within the boundary conditions of the lithium battery, but we even left a certain margin,” he added.
Zhang also noted that VOOC has been certified by acknowledged third-party inspection agencies like the TÜV Rheinland, an industry authority that ensures a secure user experience.
From best to ‘SUPER’
To adapt to the progressing user behavior of smartphone owners, OPPO brought to the market yet another advancement. Picking up what Zhang and his team learned from VOOC, they developed SuperVOOC, a more complex charging innovation and “OPPO’s fastest and safest charging solution” that’s equipped in their latest high-end devices like the OPPO Reno5 5G. The SuperVOOC equates a 15-minute charging time to 60% battery life of OPPO Reno5 5G’s 4,300mAh juice, while it only takes 35 minutes to reach 100%.
With the SuperVOOC, Zhang shared that hardware was a major concern. “We do not want our chargers to be as big as a bridge. A lot of adjustments in the battery components are done in the research and development stage,” he said. “For OPPO Reno5 5G, given the very slim structure of the phone, keeping the charger compact was more of a challenge than ensuring the product’s safety but we made it work.”
Another remarkable feat in OPPO’s flash-charging journey is the birth of its first-ever wireless charging solution, the 40W AirVOOC Wireless Flash Charging that debuted with the OPPO Ace2 released globally in April 2020.
“Ace2 features the fastest-ever 3-part charging solution, which includes 65W SuperVOOC Flash Charging, 40W AirVOOC Wireless Flash Charging, and 10W Wireless Reverse Charging. OPPO’s 40W AirVOOC incredibly matches the charging speed of VOOC 4.0 Wired Flash Charging and has set the next major benchmark in wireless charging,” Zhang said.
Gearing up for 5G
Apart from adapting to network upgrades, Zhang said that what’s crucial now that the world moves rapidly to embrace 5G is for smartphones to keep up with the needs and demands this new wireless technology entails, especially in terms of power.
In July 2020, OPPO released the 125W flash charge, 65W AirVOOC, and ultra-small charger series which Zhang said came from OPPO’s view of user needs in the 5G era.
The 125W flash-charging technology can charge a 4,000mAh battery up to 41% in 5 minutes, and fully charge it in 20 minutes. The 65W AirVOOC wireless flash charge, meanwhile, can fully recharge the same battery capacity in just 30 minutes.
“We keep exploring the VOOC flash charging technology following the brand value of user-led experience. With the popularization of the 5G era, various social and entertainment demands have increased the power consumption needs, while VOOC flash charge has also begun to expand its uses,” he said.
While no one can really predict what the fast-paced world of technology has in store for the future, OPPO will maintain its thrust of creating charging innovation for the benefit of the users.
“OPPO will continue the exploration of fulfilling users’ charging demands to raise their charging experience. Whether it is improving the portability of wireless charging or realizing a longer distance, a faster charging experience has great value for users. Besides, more cutting-edge charging patterns and technology optimizing iterations will be our focus as well,” Zhang said.
“The future of VOOC flash charge series will not only be faster but also offer an all-around user experience,” he said.
Dig deeper into OPPO’s flash-charging breakthrough on https://www.oppo.com/en/. The OPPO Reno5 4G and Reno5 5G with SuperVOOC flash charging technology are available in the Philippines for P18,999 and P23,999 respectively. Get these devices from OPPO’s concept stores and online shops, partner dealers, and exclusive e-commerce channels Shopee and Lazada.