Oppo has announced its first foldable smartphone, the Oppo Find N, in a blog post penned by its chief product officer (and OnePlus CEO) Pete Lau. The device will be launched next week on December 15th, on the second day of Oppo’s annual Inno Day.
Although the post doesn’t reveal too many specifics about the device, a teaser trailer released on Twitter shows it has a similar form factor to Samsung’s Z Fold devices, combining a large internal folding screen with a smaller outer screen that can be used like a traditional smartphone. Interestingly, this small outer screen looks like it has a similar aspect ratio to a traditional smartphone, unlike the tall thin external display of the Fold 3.
In his post, Lau admits that other companies have beaten Oppo to commercializing foldable smartphones. But he claims that these competing devices haven’t had the “utility, durability, and user experience” to make them feasible purchases for most people. “For Oppo, it is better to launch a product at a later date when it is ready to offer a great user experience instead of simply rushing to keep up with trends,” Lau writes.
The Find N is said to be the result of four years of R&D and six generations of prototypes, with Lau noting that the first generation of the Find N dates back to April 2018. In February 2019 the company showed off one of its foldable prototypes, although this version had a single large display that wrapped around the outside of the device, as opposed to the Find N’s internal folding screen.
Lau says the aim was to make a device with a beautiful design that feels good in the hand, while also being useful and easy to use. “For a foldable smartphone, both the closed-screen and open-screen experience should be equally simple to use,” Lau writes. “Then on top of that, we should create a groundbreaking efficient experience that a traditional smartphone cannot provide.”
Oppo plans to launch the Find N on the second day of its annual Inno Day event, where it typically shows off concept technologies and products. In previous years, Oppo has used these events to announce concept technologies like a rollable phone, the Oppo X 2021, as well as AR glasses, neither of which have made it to market. As well as the Find N, Oppo has also teased a device with a retractable rear camera for this year’s Inno Day, as well as more augmented reality glasses.