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Oppo’s crazy foldable smartwatch design is an accident waiting to happen

Chinese mobile manufacturer Oppo is well-known for some of the most adventurous, groundbreaking designs in the world, and a recent patent filing makes it apparent the firm wants to do the same for smartwatches.

Oppo has filed a design for a wrist-based display that can be unfolded to reveal a screen 200% bigger screen. Effectively the screen would stretch out across the wrist to offer a large smartphone-like display.

The patent also features a method of rolling out the display which would be stored inside the base. It’s something we’ve seen floated with devices like the Rolling OLED TV LG showcased at CES in January.

The fragile-looking foldable/rollable array was mocked up by Dutch site Let’s Go Digital, based upon the diagrams in the patent filing. It does look pretty cool based on the hi-resolution renders, but the display looks exceptionally breakable, and quite possibly a little dangerous.

Related: Best smartwatch 2019

Of course, the patent doesn’t guarantee that Oppo is seriously considering turning this concept into a consumer product, but it’s extremely interesting the firm is pushing in this direction. The foldable phone market remains in a bit of a flux right now, with multiple companies pushing a wide range of solutions, with no agreement on what the form factor should be.

Oppo was one of the first firms to truly commit to the full display smartphones by moving the fingerprint sensor beneath the screen and the selfie camera to a pop-up slot atop the device. For example, the Oppo Find X delivered a motorised pop-up camera that won plaudits for the level of engineering nous required. The company is also pushing the envelope to place those selfie cameras underneath the display without the need for a cutout.

However, we’re yet to see the company launch a foldable device in the mould of the Galaxy Fold, Huawei Mate X or even the rumoured Moto Razr foldable flip phone revival, let alone one offering rollable tech.

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