The Oppo F9 Pro tells a bigger story about the smartphone space today

  • The Oppo F9 Pro launched in India today at the price of ₹ 23,990.
  • The phone’s unique selling proposition is its ‘gradient colored’ design.
  • Rather than neutral colors, the phone focuses on striking colors that will catch the consumer’s eye.
The need for quick turnaround times in the smartphone space has companies battling not just amongst each other, but also themselves. When a phone’s new, iterative updates are launched almost month-on-month, one could easily question what new a phone brings, rather than asking why it’s better than a competitor's.

But here’s the thing, the smartphone space has always been driven by fads; you could call them features if you wish. For a while, everyone ran after dual-cameras, which was then replaced by bezel-less screens, and the newest in this line of fads seems to be colour.

This also comes from a newfound interest in capturing India’s vast offline market, where new colours can indeed make sense.

When you walk into a store, the phone you buy is often not the one that’s best, but the one that caught your attention first. And few companies understand that as well as Oppo.

Its newest phone, the Oppo F9 Pro has three main features - fast charging, a bezel-less and colourful screen and striking colours. But really, it’s the colours that make this phone different from Oppo’s other devices.

What’s that now?

I know you clicked here expecting to read about the Oppo F9 Pro only. But I'm going to talk about this new fad, the whole colour business, while explaining what this phone is all about.

You see, smartphones haven't always been fashion accessories. But they became so over the past year, or a tad more than that. If you're going to splurge on fancy, sometimes tacky, accessories, you might as well buy a phone that looks flashy in the first place.

That's where phones like the Oppo F9 Pro and Honor's extempore of devices come in. They do offer the correct specifications and features too, but really, they're differentiated by the fact that they're colourful.

There aren't neutral colours that will go with everything. After all, "starry purple" is a colour few can even fathom. It's meant to catch your attention - some will turn and look at this because they like the colour, and others will just scoff. But they'll all notice.

This is why I’m categorically avoiding words like ‘beautiful’ or ‘stunning’, because what I find beautiful might be ugly to you. But that’s just the point.

Oppo is wasting no time in marketing its new "gradient colour" design either. That basically means that when you look at this phone up close, the colour on the back seems to flow from a brighter to a darker shade of purple, blue and red. The company calls these Sunrise Red, Starry Purple and Twilight Blue.

But how can colours be new?

Yup, you're right. Phones sold in various colours aren't new, but they were never such striking, asking for attention colours either. Traditionally, iPhones, Galaxys etc. have tried different colours, but in more muted formats. Even the Rose Gold iPhone would barely look pink enough unless you really noticed.

But, not these new phones. They're meant to shine, and literally. The designs reflect every last spec of light so that you and everyone around you just can't miss them. In a way, the phones can market themselves by just being out in the wild.

For old-school Windows phone users, the bright oranges and greens of the Lumias come to mind. But imagine if they were somehow sparkling and had a glow. That's the idea here.

And then the specs

Don't get me wrong, the Oppo F9 Pro, like other colour-driven phones, does have the specs you need. It has a good screen, good processor, the camera specs you can read off a page and so on. But when you walk into a store, you won't be thinking of those.

That's what these striking colours do, they hide the fact that the industry as a whole is facing massive saturation, that there's really nothing new that any manufacturer can bring to the table at this given point. These are all great phones to hold, to use and even to shoot pictures with, but then, aren't almost all of them today?

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