Electro-Chromic Glass will be the future: Siddhant Narayan from OnePlus

Electro-Chromic Glass will be the future

As a brand OnePlus has always been committed to its community, and if you’ve followed their journey then you would know what an important role they’ve played. Last year OnePlus introduced their Shot On OnePlus (SOOP) campaign with its second edition starting this year. Bhavya Desai spoke to Siddhant Narayan, Head of marketing – India, OnePlus on the story of the second campaign and more. Excerpts:

What was the objective behind initiating SOOP?

At OnePlus, our community has played an essential role in our journey in India. They have been instrumental in shaping our identity across several aspects. Our strong and diverse community of 5-million Indians are tied together by their passion for great technology. With a powerful smartphone camera in hand, we wanted to empower our community to capture images like a professional and also provide a platform to share their photos. 

How is the 2nd campaign unique and different from the previous edition?

The current campaign is about how crucial every second is to the pursuit of greatness and how OnePlus cameras help you gain an edge over the others with its features. The current campaign is designed around 3 professionals from various disciplines and entails the decisiveness of a single second and how it tells a story. It completely depends on every individual on how they want to utilise it as, and with a OnePlus by their side, it gives them the added advantage to hold every second and utilise it to the core. 

While having the 3 professionals chosen for the 2nd campaign is great, do you feel if pushing the boundaries of photography was the objective with SOOP then a photographer would’ve been the more logical/natural choice?

The Story of a Second campaign is not limited by profession, we wanted to showcase achievers in diverse fields to really bring the campaign to life and resonate with a wider trajectory of people. The pursuit of greatness in any profession demands years of hardwork and perseverance. The culmination of this hard work and passion through the years can often be narrowed down to some of the most crucial moments that sets apart true achievers from the rest.  The entire story and the journey of success can be attributed to that one decisive second in the life of an athlete, a musician, a gamer – This is the story of that second. By showcasing the stories of these 3 different people, in 3 completely diverse professions, we could best highlight the importance of a second. 

While these professions are different from photographers, however, they also use their smartphone cameras to click their special moments and couple as photographs which eventually are used for professional purposes. 

The Three Achievers featured this year:

The film describes how a gamer – Zara Rebello – uses the OnePlus 8 Pro and its 90 FPS feature to better her skills, while the drummer – Tom Liben – uses the OIS feature to record his videos while drumming which captures every beat, whereas Bharath Pereira – the climber – has his profession inclined towards how he times his journey to the top using every inch of muscle and energy at the right time. 

With the cameras of smart devices becoming increasingly important and one of the key USPs for customers, what is the weightage in terms of importance given to the camera while developing new devices?

Community feedback has always been at the crux of all OnePlus offerings as well the features that we improve and develop on. The camera on our devices has been a key focus area for two reasons, its significance to our community and its importance in elevating the overall user experience. For this reason, The India R&D team has a dedicated camera software team that has diligently worked towards creating unique, customized tuning for specific scenarios for the Indian customer base. 

According to CIPA, a Japan-based industry group, worldwide camera shipments dropped by 84 percent between 2010 and 2018. The single most important factor to have triggered the slump is the rise of the smartphone camera. Also, as per a research by GWI, top frustrations with the current mid-range smartphone segment has been the camera quality (16%) and with the most recent launch of the OnePlus Nord, we wanted to address current user frustrations with mid-range smartphones, especially in terms of the camera. 

Our growing community of users, that had shown a strong desire for a more affordable smartphone that incorporates OnePlus’ flagship-level product and user experience standards, and that is what we gave them with the OnePlus Nord. Hence, providing the best possible camera at an affordable price was a focus for us as per the requirements we gauged from our community. While our flagship series – the OnePlus 8 series – and our legacy devices share the same philosophy of providing the possible camera experience, the need to further enhance our offerings in line with our community feedback has been integral to the growth of OnePlus. 

Even though the OnePlus Nord fits within the affordable segment, it was the first OnePlus device to offer a front ultra-wide selfie. The R&D team worked tirelessly towards developing software solutions that effectively utilized camera sensors to their highest capacity, thereby helping acquire great quality selfies for larger groups. Another example of delivering a supreme camera experience to our users would be the focus on optical image stabilization on the OnePlus Nord. The Nord is one of the only devices equipped with OIS at a similar price point as it’s competitors. 

Our team of specialists at the India R&D facility have and continue to be committed to conceptualizing  breakthrough developments in terms of camera technology with the aim building on our inherent promise  of a burdenless user experience.

While OnePlus is extremely appreciated by the community and customers, there still seems to be some room for improvement when it comes to the camera performance. What are your thoughts on the same?

The camera will always be a key focus area for us at OnePlus given its importance to our community. Our aim is to improve on every feature and aspect of our device with the launch of new generations. We work very closely with enthusiastic community members by hosting focus group sessions as well as try to engage with several of them individually in order to acquire valuable feedback on how to improve, further innovate and enhance our user experience. 

For our recently launched flagship series, the OnePlus 8 Pro was equipped with the company’s first quad-camera system to cater to the needs of even the most demanding photographers and videographers. Also, the OnePlus 8 equipped with a Spectra 480 Image Signal Processor, which processes four times more pixels than before, the OnePlus 8 can take even clearer shots with advanced image processing like HDR. 

And our latest offering, the OnePlus Nord, we worked towards providing the Optimal Image Stabilisation (OIS) feature which makes the video feel it had been shot with a gimbal, reducing the stutters and recording 4K video at 60 FPS, a feature only available on the OnePlus device in the price segment.

OnePlus 8 series in different colours

How has the response been thus far for the 8 series and the Nord?

We are excited with the response we have received for the OnePlus 8 series as well as the recently launched, Nord. Targeted towards the premium and ultra-premium smartphone market where users opt for devices with the best of technology, the launch of 8 series helped OnePlus claim the top spot in India’s premium smartphone segment Q2 of 2020.

The Nord on the other hand targets OnePlus enthusiasts and value shoppers who are not as focused on specs but prefer a smartphone that fulfills their essential daily needs. Living up to this promise, the Nord continues to receive extremely positive feedback from not just our community members, but also from users, outside our customer base.

OnePlus Nord, the newest entrant to the affordable segment

What would be the next stage of features according to you that cameras in smart devices can offer?

As we showcased during the launch of the OnePlus Concept One, that the future of the camera will be the electro-chromic glass which enables the camera setup to be hidden until the camera is not in use. Also, during this period, we received a lot of feedback for the ND filter and have some great ideas coming up for the same as our R&D teams continue to explore possibilities for it. 

We at OnePlus are most excited, passionate and most inspired by the pursuit of making better products. As a company, users should be paramount and based on the products and services that you create, users have an impression and association with the company. Keeping that as our focus, we will keep striving towards creating something more unique and interesting to engage the community together, and that’s really the spirit of it.