Omate TrueSmart The next step in wearables or another smartwatch disappoinment

first_imgSmartwatches have been on the minds of nearly everyone in the tech world lately. Kickstarter success stories, like Pebble and MetaWatch, have paved the way for a new generation of high-tech watch concepts geared towards the noble goal of enabling the us to do just a little bit more. Omate is a contender in the next wave of smartwatches, promising a standalone product that will play nice with your phone when you want it to, but is perfectly capable of being the only device you take out of the house (sometimes).The problem with the current generation of smartwatches is the lack of reciprocal functionality. They work great as dumpsters for your phone notifications, and some of them play nice when it comes to delivering small bursts of information like the next step in a line of directions or the weather, but they don’t really provide anything of use back to the phone. You don’t really lose anything by leaving your watch at home, and the only thing you gain by having it is a tiny bit of convenience.Omate TrueSmart is approaching the smartwatch from a different perspective, by making your smartphone the thing you occasionally leave at home instead of the watch. They accomplish this by making the watch a standalone Android device, complete with the ability to make phone calls and access WiFi or 3G networks from your wrist.Smartphones are getting bigger with every release, Android phones more than anything else. Good luck going for a jog with the Samsung Galaxy Mega in your pocket, or worse yet strapped to your arm. Much in the same way the Google Glass can be used to reduce the time spent fumbling with your phone, Omate wants to offer a stylish waterproof watch that plays nicely with your phone when you want it to, but can be used to make calls, take photos, and generally provide the user with a scaled down Android experience whether or not your phone is around.On paper, it sounds like an incredible idea. Unfortunately, there’s quite a few steps in between concept and delivery in order for that to “just work” the way Omate wants it to.When I sat down with Nick Yap of Omate, he tried explained the TrueSmart concept with a little more depth. Omate wanted the TrueSmart to be capable as a standalone watch, but not a replacement for your smartphone. Instead, the watch would be seen as a companion to the phone instead of an accessory. The microphone on the watch would allow voice commands or message replies without needing to involve the phone, but the content would sync between the two devices.This is a concept that has been tested by Omate, and is already available to view on YouTube.Yap explained that Omate has already started working with developers to create an SDK that will allow for apps to cooperate between the watch and the phone, or to exist as standalone apps for users who have that preference. Omate has also begun working with a large group of users interested in integration with Google Glass features, but currently there’s not a lot in the way of details surrounding that idea. These all sound like great features, but the one thing he couldn’t explain was how your watch and your phone would work together.The TrueSmart is not an accessory, it’s a separate Android device. It’s a smartphone that you wear on your wrist, which is a cool enough concept for any geek to wrap their head around but there’s a lot of software that hasn’t been explained yet. There are no functioning versions of the Omate TrueSmart, their demonstrations never show the active screen and the case at the same time. The company has turned to Kickstarter to fund the hardware, but there’s not nearly enough talk about software to go along with that.As a standalone device running Android 4.2.2, Omate will receive its own notifications separate from your phone. This essentially means that unless you have disabled the notification tone on one device or the other, you’ll get every notification twice. When you dismiss a notification on one Android device, it doesn’t necessarily go away on the other by default. That function is app-specific, and TrueSmart has no current plans for dealing with this. It’s possible that they will come up with a solution, but currently that doesn’t exist.What you’re looking at with the TrueSmart is a dual-core Android phone mounted on your wrist with a 600mAh battery. Omate hopes to implement a gesture that wakes the screen when you want to just see the time or glance at notifications, but otherwise you’ll need a button press to wake the device on your wrist.Ultimately, the Omate TrueSmart is an impressive idea in need of some serious software guidance. If they get that software guidance before shipping, it has to the potential to be a really great smartwatch. If all you are getting from this Kickstarter is a $200 Android phone on your wrist.last_img read more