Though its first foray into wearables doesn't make that clear, a round OPPO smartwatch is bound to happen… eventually. That, at least, is the implication of a newly discovered smartwatch design OPPO filed to patent a year ago.
Almost a year ago to date, as a matter of fact. It did so in its home country of China, though the National Intellectual Property Administration is still reviewing the application.
In the meantime, Dutch outlet LetsGoDigital discovered the design document in question and even expanded upon it. Which is how these high-resolution renders featured above came to be.
OPPO envisioned a device with a 3D display that curves around its circular housing to form a remarkably sleek gadget. The design is all the more stylish relative to the original OPPO Watch. While not lacking in overall qualities, that wearable was a pretty uninspired Apple Watch clone in terms of aesthetics.
Don't get this the wrong way; nothing is original, especially not in a discipline as subjective as product design. But why do a carbon copy of the most bland design on the market? Because it's Apple? Because you don't find it bland? Why not copy Apple's software support policy, or quality assurance practices for apps?
As with the industry-wide rush to remove the headphone jack, there are little meaningful answers behind these questions. Which, after five years and counting, is really saying something. The sixth Apple Watch generation just launched last night, in fact, still looking like a modern, overpriced take at Casio's long-abandoned calculator watches.
Nothing meaningful stands in the way of a round OPPO smartwatch
Again, this isn't about rectangular smartwatches being bad, it's about a significant part of the industry avoiding circular designs altogether. And last anyone checked, neither Apple nor OPPO came up with something as timeless as the Cartier Tank Watch.
Meaning UI design laziness remains the best reason to sell a boxy wearable. Right after overall design laziness that stems from blindly following the half a decade old vision of Jony Ive – who's not even at Apple anymore.
Here's where this little rant would usually end. But have this kicker instead: OPPO's second-generation smartwatches are twice as likely to be rectangular instead of circular. According to that same design patent application mentioned above, at least. Which, to be frank, doesn't really mean much.
Besides serving as yet another reminder that OPPO is still at the beginning of its wearable journey. Almost the very beginning, in fact, seeing how its premier Wear OS smartwatch only released a few weeks ago.