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Chromium is an ‘upstream’ open source browser and web engine project that contributes significantly to the growing Chrome ecosystem. Chromium’s code is utilized in important products and other open source projects including the Chrome browser, Chrome OS, Android Open Source Platform, the rendering engine Blink and the web app run-time project Crosswalk.

CSS Round Display specifications

BY 01 Staff (not verified) ON Oct 04, 2016


// CC BY 2.0,

Photo by Matthew Hutchinson (, CC BY 2.0,

Did you know that the first commercial computer monitor had a round display? Digital Equipment's PDP-1(1959) was the first commercial computer equipped with a CRT monitor. As you can see the picture above, the display is round! However, since then, we have been using rectangular displays for a long time. As computers have become smaller and computer networking has become cheaper, computing and internet connectivity have been integrated into many consumer electronic devices, from appliances to wristwatches, that we collectively call Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Some of these IoT devices use non-rectangular displays, so it’s time for the round display to make a comeback.

As you can see, smartwatches are the best examples of round displays. The NEST thermostat also uses a round display. In addition, new Audi cars in model year 2017 have adopted a free form display in the dashboard.

Web standard

Many IoT devices use web engines to display their UIs, and many IoT devices themselves are developed using web technologies. IoT developers can take advantage of the familiarity, flexibility, and ease of development offered by these web standards. But because some IoT devices have round displays, we need to let the web know what kind of display is used in each device. Current web standards are designed for rectangular displays, but since we need to take round display shapes (circles and ellipses) into account for the web, the CSS Round Display specifications use angle and radius values to position UI elements.

CSS Round Display for Crosswalk

CSS Round Display is a set of W3C specifications that introduces a new media query feature and new CSS properties. LG Electronics* proposed these specifications to the CSS working group for their smartwatch based on WebOS*. The specifications are currently in the working draft 1 state. Intel joined the effort to apply the specifications to Crosswalk for Android* watches. The Crosswalk Project is a web runtime that enables web applications to run across Android, Windows*, Linux* platforms and iOS*. It even works well on Android Wear* platforms so web developers are able to implement Android Wear applications using web technologies with Crosswalk.

Overview of CSS Round Display specifications

The CSS Round Display specification has seen some big changes recently. Originally it was designed only for round displays, but now it has been extended to cover the regular web by merging some of the properties into CSS Motion Path. As a result, the motion-path property was renamed to offset-path to embrace the polar-angle, polar-distance, polar-anchor, and polar-origin properties.

Media Query: shape feature

Weather application demos [2][3]

Additionally, the name of the Media Query feature was changed from device-radius to shape. Its value was also changed from a percentage to the two reserved values, round and rect.

If we use the shape feature in CSS, we can apply different CSS styles for round displays as follows:

link href="rect.css" media="screen and (shape: rect)" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"
link href="circle.css" media="screen and (shape: round)" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"

Currently, this feature can only work in Android Wear that provides the WindowInSets::isRound() method to know whether the display has a round shape or not. The return value of this API is simple: the display is either rectangular or circular because those are the two kinds of displays that are on the market. We changed the name and value type of the feature for ease of use. If other display shapes are introduced in the future, we might need to extend this functionality.

Extending the @viewport rule: the viewport-fit descriptor

When web content is rendered in round displays, the corners of the content might be clipped, causing users to need to scroll the web page to see the hidden area. To see the whole viewport in the round display, we need to reduce the size of the visual viewport to fit it inside the round display.

The viewport-fit rule was introduced in the spec as a descriptor of @viewport to fix this problem. It allows us to control the clipped area by setting the size of the visual viewport. You can see an example of this here:


@viewport { viewport-fit: contain; } and @viewport { viewport-fit: cover; }

CSS offset-path and offset-distance

<div id="circle1" style="offset-path: 0deg; offset-distance: 50%"></div>
<div id="circle2" style="offset-path: 90deg; offset-distance: 20%"></div>
<div id="circle3" style="offset-path: 225deg; offset-distance: 100%"></div> 
The offset-path property specifies the path at which the element gets positioned. The angle value can be used. The offset-distance property specifies the position of the element along the specified path. We can easily position elements using the path and the distance in the path.

CSS offset-position and offset-anchor

The offset-position sets a start point of the path in the containing block. The offset-anchor property sets an anchor point of the element. We can change the position of the element in the containing block in different ways.

CSS offset-rotation

body { border-radius: 50%; } #item1 { offset-path: 0deg; offset-distance: 90%; offset-rotation: auto 90deg; } #item2 { offset-path: 45deg; offset-distance: 90%; offset-rotation: auto 90deg; } #item3 { offset-path: 135deg; offset-distance: 90%; offset-rotation: auto -90deg; } #item4 { offset-path: 180deg; offset-distance: 90%; offset-rotation: auto -90deg; } #item5 { offset-path: 225deg; offset-distance: 90%; offset-rotation: auto -90deg; } #item6 { offset-path: -45deg; offset-distance: 90%; offset-rotation: auto 90deg; }

   body {
       border-radius: 50%;
   #item1 {
       offset-path: 0deg;
       offset-distance: 90%;
       offset-rotation: auto 90deg;
   #item2 {
       offset-path: 45deg;
       offset-distance: 90%;
       offset-rotation: auto 90deg;
   #item3 {
       offset-path: 135deg;
       offset-distance: 90%;
       offset-rotation: auto -90deg;
   #item4 {
       offset-path: 180deg;
       offset-distance: 90%;
       offset-rotation: auto -90deg;
   #item5 {
       offset-path: 225deg;
       offset-distance: 90%;
       offset-rotation: auto -90deg;
   #item6 {
       offset-path: -45deg;
       offset-distance: 90%;
       offset-rotation: auto 90deg;
 <div id="item1">1</div>
 <div id="item2">2</div>
 <div id="item3">3</div>
 <div id="item4">4</div>
 <div id="item5">5</div>
 <div id="item6">6</div>

If we use CSS offset-rotation, we can rotate elements toward the center or border of the display by specifying the angle.

CSS border-boundary

When we draw a border around elements in a round display, parts of the border can be clipped off. So the spec added the CSS border-boundary property to paint the border where the element and the display intersect. As you can see in the pictures above, elements’ borders can be drawn differently according to their location and the display shape.

Creating an application using CSS Round Display with Crosswalk

CSS Round Display has been experimentally implemented in Crosswalk for Android Wear so the latest changes of the specification were not applied.

Creating a package with custom built Crosswalk for round display

You can easily package your Crosswalk application with Crosswalk app tools using the following steps:

  1. Download crosswalk_app_tools and set it up for Android.
  2. Download the Crosswalk web runtime built with the CSS Round Display implementation (x86, ARM) for Android Wear.
  3. Extract the package to $HOME/Downloads/.
  4. Clone this repository and change to the directory:
    $ git clone 
    $ cd crosswalk-round-display-samples
  5. Choose a sample directory and run crosswalk-pkg tools:
    $ crosswalk-pkg -p android -c ~/Download/xwalk_app_template polar 
    $ adb install -r com.joone.polar-0.1-debug.x86.apk

For the shared mode, you can only package HTML, CSS, JS, and other resource files without the Crosswalk engine. In this case, the Crosswalk engine is shared with other Crosswalk web applications on Android. You can find the instructions below:

$ crosswalk-pkg  -p android -a shared  -c ~/Download/xwalk_app_template weather

You can download the Crosswalk engine for the shared mode at the links below:

Download CSS Round Display demo applications for Android Wear

You can download Crosswalk sample applications for Android Wear here:

Build Crosswalk for Android Wear

You can build Crosswalk for Android Wear and include the CSS Round Display features with the instructions at the following links:

You need to create a VERSION file in crosswalk/src/out/Release/xwalk_app_template/, which includes the following information:


Then build xwalk_app_template, which includes the Crosswalk runtime.

$ ninja -C out/Release xwalk_app_template

Now you have a custom-built Crosswalk with CSS Round Display features. You can use it to package your Android Wear application instead using of the downloaded runtime.

$ crosswalk-pkg -p android -c ~/git/crosswalk/src/out/Release/xwalk_app_template polar


Here are some demos of Crosswalk for CSS Round Display on Fossil Android Wear based on an X86 processor.



Browsing the web on Android Watch


Android 2.0* was introduced in the last Google I/O* developer conference. Android 2.0 is able to access a network without using an Android smartphone as an intermediary device. For now, we are able to run the Chromium browser and use it to browse the web, as you can see from the pictures above. From a user’s perspective, it is not easy to browse the web like this because the browser UI and virtually all web pages were made for rectangular displays only. Just as it took many years for web browsing on phones to catch up with the desktop experience, it might take time for people to learn how to easily browse the web with their round display devices. CSS Round Display specifications will help accelerate this transition.

Upstreaming the work

Many features of CSS Round Display were experimentally implemented in Crosswalk, but they were not applied to the Crosswalk trunk. Instead, those changes will be upstreamed directly to Chromium. LG, Google*, and Intel are working to implement these changes in the spec and to develop working demos in Chromium soon.



*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.