August 22, 2013
Omate Bringing Standalone Smartwatch To The Tech Table
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
While tech giants like Apple, Google and Microsoft are only rumored to be releasing wearable computing devices, namely “smartwatches,” smaller companies are already producing and selling these devices.
Now, just weeks before Samsung is expected to release its own “Galaxy Gear” Android smartwatch, another Kickstarter-funded digital wrist companion is looking to move forward in production. The Omate TrueSmart is a water resistant watch that prides itself on being able to operate as a separate, 1.54-inch Android device on your wrist.
The Omate Kickstarter campaign began yesterday and has already earned more than the $100,000 goal. At the time of this writing, 853 backers have donated $165,150 to the campaign, which is slated to run until September 20.
Though none of the smartwatches from the big players in technology have been released or even shown off, many expect these devices to operate in the same way. Like those few options that exist from Pebble, CooKoo and others, smartwatches are generally expected to pair with a smartphone via Bluetooth, display text messages and emails, and even answer or make telephone calls.
The Omate TrueSmart watch can perform each of these tasks, but separates itself by promising to act as a standalone Android device without having to be paired to a smartphone. This means the Android 4.2 device can act as the tiniest of smartphones, handling voice calls, sending text messages and even checking into social networking sites directly from the wrist.
Wearers can navigate through the menus with multi-touch gestures or their voice; a 1.3 GHz dual core processor powers Android apps built for the tiny screen. The Kickstarter video shows users pulling up a tiny version of Facebook for Android, though they don’t show scrolling through a news feed or scanning through pictures of friends.
Like other smartwatches, rumored or realistic, the TrueSmart can pair with smartphones via a Bluetooth 4.0 connection. The thick, waterproof watch also has Wi-Fi radios built in to connect to home networks. Furthering the end goal of building a standalone Android device, Omate also plans to pack this device with a five-megapixel camera.
Smartwatches don’t live in pockets or on desktops; therefore those building or looking to build smartwatches have had to focus on making their offerings resistant against the elements, namely moisture and water. The Omate Smartwatch has the look of a heavy duty and water resistant device and indeed has been built to stand up to IP67 water resistant standards. This, says the Omate team, means the TrueSmart can resist thunderstorms, multiple hand washing, and even those pesky “redbull spills.”
Though the device is capable of standing up to the ever present threat of energy drink spills, weather and hand washing, the multi-touch display will not work while the screen is wet.
The Omate team say they are “more ready than other crowd-funding projects you have seen” with a final design waiting to be produced. With the money they get from Kickstarter, they hope to produce the hardware and persuade Android developers to start building apps for the TrueSmart. The campaign will end later next month and Omate hopes to ship its first round of production units as early as October; the second round of production units are planned to ship in November.