Leading smartphone manufacturers including Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and LG have besides smartphones also smartwatches in their portfolio. This is different for Oppo. Although the Chinese smartphone manufacturer already had a smartwatch in development in 2015, it was never released. The reason for this is unknown, it is possible that the company wants to develop a smartwatch with a more distinctive character.
Last week LetsGoDigital reported on a special IBM smartwatch, which can be expanded into a tablet format display. It seems that Oppo has a similar idea. After some hours of hard work, LetsGoDigital discovered that Oppo was granted a patent for a foldable smartwatch last year.
Oppo smartwatch with a folding screen
Halfway through 2018, Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications filed a patent with the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Office). The patent entitled 'Wearable electronic device' was published in September 2018 and describes a smartwatch with a flexible screen.
The patented Oppo smartwatch has a regular watch strap and a rectangular-shaped screen. A special feature of this smartwatch is that the display module is foldable so that the user has a larger screen area within no time if desired.
Are you busy, for example with intensive training, then you can use the display in folded position? In its most compact form, the display is not or hardly wider than the watchband, which means that it cannot be an obstacle when the user is wearing the watch on his wrist. The display part that is not in use is automatically switched off in order to save on battery consumption.
If you need a larger screen, for example for watching a video? Then you can easily unfold the display module, after which the screen area is increased by 200%. You will have three times of screen space at your disposal. The user interfaces changes depending on the mobile device being used. This smartwatch has two modes; a folded and unfolded mode.
The screen is unfolded in the width, the height remains the same regardless of the folding position. The display folds open towards your back of the hand, making the entire screen easy to operate with your other hand. The Oppo foldable smartwatch also has a bracket where the display module is located, which provides extra strength when the screen is unfolded.
In the folded position the extra display part is stored in the watch case, under the main screen. The watch case has a recessed groove from which the screen can slide out. The folding process is fully automatic.
Furthermore, the smartwatch is provided with a pressure buckle. By pressing the buckle the screen can be unfolded. The pressure buckle also prevents the screen from accidentally unfolding when the user delivers intensive performance.
Future Oppo products with a flexible display
Whether Oppo actually has a foldable smartwatch in development is as yet unknown. Earlier this year, Oppo announced that it had a foldable smartphone in development. During MWC 2019, the company showed a prototype of a folding phone that showed a lot of similarities with the Huawei Mate X. At the time, however, the company saw too little added value in the design, so this Oppo smartphone was not (yet) introduced.
Various patents have shown that Oppo may want to choose to replace the sidebar with a pop-up camera. By developing a foldable telephone with a pop-up camera, a full-screen design can be realized - as we also see with the Oppo Reno smartphone models.
It is certainly not inconceivable that Oppo also sees a future in a smartwatch. The Oppo O-Band was released in 2014, an activity tracker. A year later, there were several rumors about an Oppo smartwatch that is currently being developed. This would be equipped with Oppo's Super VOOC charging technology so that you could top up the watch in no time. This smartwatch has never been released.
The ColorOS user interface from Oppo seems to be well suited for smartwatches. Finally, the Oppo interface shows many similarities with Apple's iOS. The Apple Watch is by far the most popular smartwatch, partly because Apple's operating system knows how to handle smaller screen sizes much better than the Android OS. If Oppo tackles it correctly, ColorOS could provide a better user experience than the average Android smartwatch.
Oppo is not the only manufacturer that has patented such a watch type. Earlier this year, LetsGoDigital reported on a Royole wearable that had a somewhat similar foldable display. With the foldable smartwatch from Royole, however, the screen is held magnetically together, while Oppo opts for a pressure buckle.
Samsung, on the other hand, which seems to see more in a bendable phone that you can fold around your wrist. TCL (Alcatel & BlackBerry) is also known to have a folding phone in development that you can fold into a smartwatch.
Lenovo already showed in 2016 a concept of a flexible phone that you can bend around your wrist. We have heard a little more about this smartphone afterward. Nubia, a former subsidiary of ZTE, did launch the Nubia Alpha earlier this year, also a very futuristic smartwatch with a long bendable screen. You can actually buy this foldable smartwatch for a price of € 450 (Bluetooth version).
In the coming years, we will undoubtedly hear more about these new types of mobile devices. Because although the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X have been postponed, more and more manufacturers are engaged in the development of electronic devices with a foldable display. You would think that this should eventually lead to a new trend ?!