June 2, 2023

Pantanal, it’s a hard thing to do | Geek Park

Yesterday, OPPO released the smart cross-end system “Pantanar” at ODC2022.

I see the first reaction of many people around me: this is not a new concept, and similar things are being done by mobile phone manufacturers. Indeed, intelligent cross-end, interconnection of all things, ecological collaboration, air relay… Conceptually, this is not new, and it will be a difficult thing.


OPPO released its own cross-terminal system Pantanal|OPPO

I still remember Apple’s ambitions when it introduced “drag-and-drop” on the iPad: text, pictures, links… everything can be freely dragged between apps and even different devices. But now, 5 years later, even with Apple’s strong push, there are still many developers who have not adapted to this development standard.

This is the most troublesome part of “cross-end”: hardware, systems, and apps belong to different companies. They each have their own technical routes and interest considerations, and it is difficult to match them together.

But this is indeed a “serious thing”. Smartphones and hardware have developed for more than ten years, and they can do more and more things and become more and more complex. In the era of dataization and intelligence, to improve the user experience of mobile phones, a new framework is needed to coordinate different software and hardware services.

Faced with this problem, including Apple, Xiaomi, and Huawei, they have all made efforts with different routes, and even made a lot of mobile phone accessories, smart hardware, and software services, but at present, it seems that they have not found that “breakthrough point”.

The name Pantanal is very characteristic. I checked it and it is “the largest wetland ecosystem in the world”. So apart from this cool name, what different solutions will OPPO, a new player, bring to this old problem?

Simple technical logic, complex human logic

In today’s smartphone ecosystem, there are a pair of obvious contradictions: a variety of software, hardware, and services are abundant, but users’ choices are very narrow.

Most of the user’s time is spent on a few “super apps”. Because there are too many similar products, many products have the same function, but the details are different, very complicated, and the learning cost is high.

Including smart hardware, you have to bind a specific app to use it, which has become a burden of “anti-intelligence”. For example, it is as simple as turning on a light, but the user has to unlock the phone, search for and open the app, click on the device menu, find the light, and turn it on.

Why can’t the button to turn on the light automatically appear on the lock screen of my phone when I get home? Why is the computing power of smartphones so powerful and the data in the app so rich, but the smartphone ecosystem is still like a “first day at work” assistant that always requires users to wake up, ask, click, choose…

At the technical level, it is not complicated to realize the intelligence of a single scene. For example, the true wireless earphones of mobile phone manufacturers can basically realize “open the cover and automatically pop up the menu, and put on the ear to connect automatically”.


Your own hardware often has a good intelligent experience|Geek Park

For a certain demand point, realizing intelligence is like “building a road”. The development team connects the demand, interaction logic, and data interface, and it is not difficult to realize.

But such a smooth collaborative experience only accounts for a small part of our use of smartphones. More often, our experience is still interrupted: after receiving the dinner address, if you want to take a taxi, you must re-search the store name in the taxi software, and you need to confirm repeatedly that it is the branch sent by a friend.

It is not difficult to plan a “highway” on a smartphone, but how to plan the road network from the perspective of the overall experience.Ideally, third-party developers can access the “road network” without reinventing the wheel. When users use it, they can quickly connect a “shortest path” between different apps and hardware. The system should also be proactive and Running forward allows users to feel the experience improvement brought by intelligence.

This is the meaning of the “cross-end system” in the name of Pantanal: connecting different hardware and software ends to facilitate users to cross.

The problem is that in today’s mobile Internet ecosystem, mobile phones are a piece of land, and those apps and more and more smart hardware are cities that are connected by dirt roads, or even simply separated from each other.

These “cities” already have their own construction styles and their own business barriers. To connect them, not only the “technical logic” at the data and interaction level, but also the consensus on the future development direction of the smartphone ecosystem, and even the business value chain.

In the final analysis, “human logic” is always more complicated than “technical logic”.

Why is resistance greater than driving force?

Since the birth of the mobile Internet, the core operational indicators of all products are activity and retention. Especially in times of high growth, user attention is everything. When I share the data, users may open my app less than once. When I make a button to let users jump to another app smoothly, it will lead to loss of activity and retention rate.

Moreover, developers have never trusted mobile phone manufacturers. Every mobile phone system on the market will have some “intelligent” development kits, such as a negative one-screen information window, widgets, and shortcuts. If developers actively cooperate with these standards to develop, it can also improve the user experience.

But the result of this is that the user is only sticky to the mobile phone. In fact, when the user leaves the app, the developer no longer has the right to speak. With the size of Google, it has to pay Apple tens of billions of dollars every year to become the default engine of the iOS system search box.

Finally, everyone defaults that only their own App is their own territory. I have to do my best to keep users in the app, I can’t accept others building roads in my territory. Once the road is repaired, will my “sovereignty” and interests be lost?

Similar logic also exists in the field of intelligent hardware. Many consumer hardware factories and home power plants also insist on keeping apps and services in their own hands, focusing on user loyalty and stickiness, even if it only makes a light bulb.

The intelligent service users who make mobile phones truly active and running forward must be realized through “ecological joint construction”. This is naturally suitable for mobile phone manufacturers to lead. But this is very difficult. It is as powerful as Apple. It also encountered great resistance when it promoted the function of “drag-and-drop”, which tried to allow apps to form information through simple interactions. Even if Apple will give priority to recommending apps that adapt to the latest features and strictly abide by development standards in the App Store.


Apple will encourage developers to actively adapt to Apple’s new features through editorial recommendations, awards, etc.|Apple

In the end, a word has become popular in recent years, called “Family Bucket”. Everyone acquiesced that only by buying a certain brand of “Family Bucket” can a relatively complete ecological experience be obtained. However, the scale of the “family bucket” is limited after all, and it is not a panacea. It is still difficult for a larger portion of users to fully realize ecological collaboration and intelligence in their daily intelligent experience.

This may be the reason why OPPO did not give priority to building a larger “family bucket”, but wanted to solve the problem by building the “middleware system” of Pantanal.

This is a serious thing that everyone thinks should be done, but the resistance outweighs the driving force. After all, the driving force is not unlimited, and mobile phone manufacturers have to settle accounts. Therefore, even if Apple holds the throne of software and hardware, the intelligent experience is the rhythm of “coming to Japan”; and Xiaomi has established a better intelligent experience on smart products through the ecological chain model, and has also won Huawei’s Hongmeng hopes to use software to build a “city” covering the world, but many forces have not yet “immigrated” and are still waiting to see.

Those who can “make a big cake” must do their part

At this press conference, OPPO emphasized that Pantanal should focus on “openness, symbiosis, and co-prosperity”, starting from the user experience, to be a “connector”, rather than just belonging to OPPO’s own ecological assets. I am very impressed by this sentence, because this is the core issue.

It is very important to make it clear that you build your own roads and bridges, and lead the ecology to focus on the goal of “improving the user’s intelligent experience”. If an enterprise is too strong on its own “strategic goals”, it will be difficult to truly promote the upgrade of intelligent experience.

In the field of mobile Internet and intelligent hardware, the overall slowdown of the entire industry has become the theme of the times. The closure of various companies in the past was the result of competition in the era of staking. It is to share a bigger cake and keep users in their own territory. But this leads to complex products and poor user experience.

In the era of growth as the main theme, the experience of a single user is almost the same, which does not hinder the overall growth of the market. However, after the total number of users and the duration of users have peaked, it is necessary to improve the user experience and expand the ability and efficiency of serving users in order to continue to make a bigger cake.

For example, the simple “traffic-advertising” model in the past in the mobile Internet field is being superimposed on a new model of “data-service”, while intelligent hardware has begun to increase the node value of intelligent services from a simple hardware sales model.

This may be a new age backdrop for Pantanal to make the cake of “experience” bigger.


OPPO mainly talked about technical ideas at this conference. In terms of the underlying communication methods, Pantanal is not much different from most existing ecosystems. It still uses Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and the Internet to build the framework. Pantanal will focus more on the two core capabilities of “device-cloud collaboration” and “ubiquitous services”.

Under the “device-cloud collaboration” system, OPPO not only uses cloud data, but also hopes that the device and cloud can use algorithm computing power and the capabilities of peripheral devices (including sensors) with each other. This provides developers with more resources, such as the App on the TV, which can call the touch screen of the mobile phone for interaction through the device-cloud collaboration.

The “ubiquitous service” ensures that the user’s experience is not disturbed, and the developer’s territory is not infringed. The entrance to the service is invisible and does not “occupy” a place. Its appearance depends on the best service access state when the user uses the mobile phone. For example, when the car called by the user is about to arrive, this information can be displayed on the screen saver interface, or even transmitted from the headset through a voice broadcast; and the calendar arrangement for the next week is more likely to be displayed on the card on the negative screen. .

On this basis, OPPO still has to solve the “mutual trust” at the commercial level, especially the issues related to development costs and interests. Pantanal proposes a technical framework, and developers need to calculate costs and driving forces to adapt and develop on this framework.

The current status of the industry is: Apple has a strong appeal, only builds frameworks, and rarely has interests with developers; Xiaomi has mature investment experience, only invests in the ecological chain, and few companies outside the ecological chain take the initiative to join. How to balance the two modes may be the more difficult question for OPPO to answer.

37e7359d115c4420cb24b7c1b2fc42aaOPPO and the first batch of partner companies have written the Pantanal White Paper 1.0|OPPO

But I still have expectations for OPPO’s Pantanal. From the beginning of the business, back to the era of Duan Yongping’s business, OPPO has never been the “sexiest business”. Many times, their products are not the newest and most cutting-edge, nor are they the cheapest and cheapest.

The success of this company is that it understands a kind of “reconciliation”. Consumers, suppliers, and channels do not “have to” do business with OPPO, but are willing to do business with OPPO.

Later, the word was summed up as the corporate value of “duty”, which is the core issue in doing ecology. Driven by such values, Pantanal is able to transform the service resources of developers into a good user experience, and return the benefits brought by users to developers.

Although it is difficult to promote the ecology to solve the goal of improving the user’s intelligent experience, it is also a serious thing that mobile phone companies should do.

Ewen Eagle

I am the founder of Urbantechstory, a Technology based blog. where you find all kinds of trending technology, gaming news, and much more.

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