It may have been criticized for its antiquated design but, as always, Apple is having the last laugh. The Apple Watch has turned out to be the smartwatch to beat, not because of its looks but because of its once unique features. Now other wearable device makers are jumping on the same train and it seems like OPPO is taking more than just one page from the Apple Watch playbook, mimicking not just its key feature but also its controversial looks.
Once upon a time, it was easy to spot an Apple Watch among a sea of smartwatches. Perhaps it was part of the reason why Apple has stuck to the blocky square body in contrast to the all too similar circular faces of Wear OS and other devices. The design also has the functional benefit of having more room to show information.
That seems to be the justification OPPO will use for its next smartwatch, at least when it comes to the design. According to a leak on Weibo, that won’t be the only Apple Watch thing it will have. OPPO’s smartwatch will also join the slowly growing list of wearables that come with electrocardiogram or ECG functionality that can be used to detect irregular heart rhythm or atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation or AFib is a hot topic in wearables these days, especially since reports of the life-saving benefits of the Apple Watch starting flooding in. Since then, a few fitness-centric wearables have started incorporating such technologies but it’s still far from being a common feature among smartwatches.
A square smartwatch with ECG, however, doesn’t necessarily spell success. The Apple Watch’s success wasn’t simply due to its set of features but the ecosystem of services and partners it has built around them. OPPO will also face the challenge of getting its ECG approved in the first place, something that may not come so easily.