OPPO has hosted its first global Innovation Event in Barcelona, Spain on the 25 of February, debuting its homemade 10x lossless zoom technology and developments in 5G. It also showcased its brand new 5G handset (rumoured to be called the Find Z) at MWC in the Ericsson and Qualcomm booths, where visitors got to experience cloud gaming through a live demo of Soul Calibur VI. Pandaily had the chance of visiting both stands at MWC and got a taste of what OPPO had in store with regards to 5G.
5G Cloud Gaming With Soul Calibur 6
With the dawn of 5G, cloud gaming has been the hot topic on gamers’ lips. At the Qualcomm and Ericsson 5G booth at MWC 2019, OPPO displayed its 5G smartphone on a counter with Soul Calibur VI streaming directly from the cloud. The device was enclosed in a protective case for confidentiality and hooked up to a TV from a USB Type-C to HDMI cord. Pandaily had a chance to try out the game provided by the cloud gaming platform Shadow, a French subscription service by Blade Group.
A product manager on-site told Pandaily that OPPO was streaming the game directly from a server located in Amsterdam at the time, which is about 770 miles away from Barcelona. The smartphone itself was powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 with Adreno 640 GPU and X50 5G modem. Basically, the combination of chipset and network allowed the device to drastically enhance the overall gaming experience by bringing about better graphics, higher download speeds, and lower latency.
Playing Soul Calibur VI on OPPO’s 5G smartphone felt just like gaming at home on a regular Xbox console. The animations were smooth, controls were responsive with no lag, and if I wasn’t informed ahead of time, it definitely wouldn’t have occurred to me that the game was being streamed from the cloud. So it seems like for now, cloud gaming is smooth sailing across the 5G ocean. But whether or not the same gaming experience will be enjoyed by everyone on a smartphone in the future is still unknown.
5G cloud gaming is still in its early stage of development. The necessary hardware and infrastructure for streaming at top speed is not mature yet, and for that matter, we still don’t know what top speed for 5G is even. According to reports, in early 2015, researchers at the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) achieved wireless transmission speeds of a jaw-dropping 1Tbps! That is way faster than the previous record set by Samsung in 2014 of 7.5Gbps and over 65,000 times faster than average 4G download speeds at the time. However, this impressive speed was achieved under lab conditions using custom-built equipment and over a distance of just 100m. So realistically, these speeds probably won’t be possible for a long time. At the very least, it definitely won’t be mature or coming to us any time soon.
However, things are already looking very positive and exciting for the future of smartphone gaming. Game file sizes have been ballooning with the onset of 4K gaming. With a game like Soul Calibur VI, the total game size is already quite large sitting at around 20-30GB. And to be able to stream that smoothly without any lag spikes from a regional server is a rather thrilling feat, seeing as this would allow other games to be playable on the smartphone from now on. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how games would proceed to stream over the cloud when file sizes get comically large such as with Final Fantasy XV’s 150GB or Gears of War 4’s 350GB file size with all the additional gear updates. Thus, to be able to play directly from the cloud and avoid the torture of having to download, and in ultra high definition too, is undoubtedly something to look forward to with 5G.
Other 5G Applications Using Cloud Computing
OPPO told Pandaily that it’s also running another photo enhancement application using big data and cloud computing with 5G. Photos are first uploaded to the cloud for processing before they are 1) stitched together to produce one single high definition panoramic picture, or 2) retouched for brightness enhancement or other readjustments that require large data processing.
The on-site staff explained that OPPO is using a combination of AI algorithms with cloud computing to achieve this, and that without a 5G connection, it was hard to process the massive data required to allow the two above functions to operate successfully. He then proceeded to demonstrate on the spot what the application was capable of by stitching together a high definition panoramic picture and brightening an existing photo stored on the device.
It was unclear whether or not it was completely necessary to perform simple photo edits over a 5G network, but OPPO explained that the data that needed to be processed on the cloud was too large for conventional 4G networks to perform. However, it was perhaps not the best application to show off the muscles of 5G. 5G’s drastic improvement in connection speed and bandwidth are better off shown through other more demanding tasks such as providing a truly immersive VR or AR experience, or perhaps various IoT applications and autonomous driving. Hopefully, OPPO will be exploring the possibilities of bringing these other 5G related applications to their device in the future to allow users to enjoy these experiences on the go.
10x Lossless Zoom on Smartphone
Smartphone cameras have come a long way, but one area that still needs improvement is the ability to zoom into a subject from a distance and capture it with clarity. Most smartphones are limited to 2x or 3x optical zoom but OPPO showcased a new camera system with 10x “lossless” zoom that will accompany its 5G smartphone to be released in the coming months.
The 10x lossless zoom camera technology relies on three cameras: an 8MP ultra-wide angle camera with a 16mm focal length and 120-degree field of view, an OIS-capable 48MP snapper, and a 12MP telephoto lens with a focal length of 160mm, also featuring Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS).
Pandaily tested out the camera on-site and found that although the 10x zoom was impressive, there were still some noise to be seen within the pictures after zooming in fully. As the smartphone was still an unreleased device, there was no way to verify the actual file size or other photo properties without transferring them onto a laptop first. Thus, it was hard to discern whether or not the 10x lossless zoom was truly at its best.
Other media outlets have also confirmed these observations by stating that, “the 10x zoom is impressive but not always. Sometimes on 10x (up to 20x digital zoom supported) there is noticeable noise when taking extreme close-up shots.” Nonetheless, OPPO has announced that the smartphone will be unveiled in the second quarter of this year. Thus, there will definitely be more in-depth tests to be conducted at that time.