Unless you’ve spent the majority of the past twelve months hiding under a rock, you’ll know that things haven’t been great for Huawei recently. The Chinese company has found themselves at odds with Donald Trump’s administration in the United States of America and accused of using their technology to spy on westerners in both the USA and Europe. As a result, their hardware is more-or-less banned in the US, and they’ve only been allowed to participate in the roll-out of the UK’s 5G network with some strict limitations in place.
Huawei being cut down to size by the authorities was very good news for the established players in the technology market. Until the bans and restrictions began to affect their sales figures, Huawei’s high-tech, low-cost mobile phone handsets were starting to make a meaningful dent in the sales figures of Apple and Samsung, and both companies would have been relieved that the threat had passed. If they did relax, though, they won’t have relaxed for long. Just one Chinese company was kicked into the long grass, another came along. Oppo emerged onto the market and took up the space that Huawei used to hold, and there are no restrictions on Oppo’s ability to trade whatsoever.
Having competition in the mobile phone market is something that Apple is used to, but they’re used to domination when it comes to smart watches. Although other types of smart watch are available, the Apple Watch is the model most people think of when they picture a smart watch, and it’s by far the biggest seller of its kind. They were (more or less) the first company on the market with a viable commercial smart watch, and they’ve been pushing the technology forward ever since. All that might be about to change: as you may have guessed from both the title of this article and the fact that we mentioned Oppo mere moments ago, Oppo has entered the marketplace with a smart watch of their own – and the early indications are that it’s a good one. It might look almost exactly like the Apple Watch, but the promotional material we’ve seen so far suggests that there might be a few unique features hiding beneath the very familiar-looking facade.
Rumors of an Oppo-made smart watch have been circulating on the internet for some time, and having taken their time before making the announcement and considering what to call their new invention, Oppo has made the bold and inspired move to call it ‘Oppo Watch.’ A full unveiling of the device will take place on March 6th (presumably at the same time as the unveiling of the Find X2 phone handset), but in the meantime, the company’s official Twitter account has given us some images to look at. In them, we can clearly see the Apple Watch influence, although to our eyes, it also appears that the glass frontage of the watch curves all the way around the case in the same way that the edge display of the most recent Samsung phones is designed.
It’s thought – but not yet confirmed – that more than just the basic look of the Apple Watch has been copied across from the device’s major rival. The highly-touted ECG app that comes with the Apple Watch is also believed to be present in the Oppo device, meaning that the activity of the wearer’s heart is monitored at all times, and early warnings will be sent regarding potential heart issues. This has been a big selling point of the Apple Watch since it was introduced and will likely also be used to market the Oppo Watch, although it will likely serve to heighten the accusations of plagiarism that are bound to come from some corners.
It’s probably reasonable to assume that the Oppo Watch will have access to games and a web browser, just as the Apple Watch has. Although the basic array of app-based games that are available on such a small display are clearly limited, we’ve heard reports of wearers using the Apple device’s web browser to access more Online Slots UK. Despite the limitations of the screen size, it’s thought that online slots websites require so little processing power that they run fluidly on smart watch devices and thus have become a convenience for gamblers. It’s doubtful that it’s occurred to Oppo to check whether their device works with some of the more highly-rated online slots websites, but as there’s an apparent niche in the market there if they want to take it, it may make sense for them to do so before the product formally launches.
Even if it transpires that the Oppo Watch is identical to the Apple Watch in every way, and doesn’t offer anything new that isn’t already available to Apple Watch wearers, it’s likely that the new product would still constitute a threat to Apple. That’s down to one simple factor – the price. Although the cost of the Oppo Watch is yet to be announced (that’s another detail we may find out on March 6th), it’s expected that it will be significantly cheaper than an Apple Watch. Just as Oppo’s phones are less expensive than iPhones, their watches are likely to be cheaper than Apple’s watches. If someone wanting a smart watch can get everything they could get from an Apple Watch for 75% or less of the price, Apple will likely see a significant number of their potential customers walk away to Oppo.
A little competition in the market is never a bad thing, though. If the Oppo Watch does everything that the Apple Watch does for a lower price, it’s likely that Apple’s first response will be to build new functionality into the next generation of Apple Watches in order to justify the higher prices. Oppo will then move to level up the playing field, and Apple will respond again. Other competitors have tried and failed to play Apple at their own game when it comes to launching a smart watch and persuading the tech-loving public to part with their money for it. Perhaps Oppo will, at long last, be responsible for driving the next leap forward with the potential of the technology.