21
Aug
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I really try to understand that innovation is a process of refining. Of failure and success. You have your good ideas, and your have your not-so-good ones. But the smartwatch market seems to not be learning... anything from the not so good ones. Meet the Omate TrueSmart, the latest darling of Kickstarter's seemingly insatiable smartwatch fetish.

At nearly $50,000 of its $100,000 goal at the time of this writing, mere hours after going live, this is going to get funded. It's going to happen. It may even come to physically exist as a thing that people receive on their doorsteps, eyes wide with anticipation and optimism as they gleefully tear open the TrueSmart's packaging. They may even convince themselves to like it for a little while.

I haven't used it. I will probably never use it. I don't want to use it. But it doesn't really need a hands-on for me to tear it apart. The Omate TrueSmart may be the disgustingly glorious peak of ridiculous crowdfunded smartwatches that make little sense in a world where soon enough the likes of Samsung, Apple, and maybe even Google (and probably plenty of other companies with, you know, money) will be getting in on the action.

Let's start with what the TrueSmart does right. It's waterproof. It has built-in 3G connectivity, so it's actually a phone! That's cool. It runs Android 4.2. Uh, it... attaches to your wrist? I find that's pretty important as a feature in the watch market. And it's waterproof. They really want you to know it's waterproof. From there on, things go downhill pretty quick.

For example: this thing is freakin' huge. They try to make it look a little less imposing in most of their photos and video (eg, by not giving a sense of scale or using odd angles), but this gem managed to make it in:

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Oh my.

Why is the TrueSmart so... girthy? Well, because it's packed full of stuff, of course. Stuff like a dual-core 1.3GHz processor (manufacturer not stated), 1.54" 240x240 LCD display, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, a side-mounted 5MP camera (yes, really), GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and a 3G micro SIM slot. Fancy. The SoC, by the way, is probably a MediaTek, suggested by the naming of the baseband version in some of the screenshots (MOLY.WR8).

As you may have guessed, then, the TrueSmart really is a smartphone on your wrist. Like, as close to literally being a smartphone on your wrist as possible without actually just attaching a smartphone to your wrist with some Velcro. Ambitious! And probably a really, really bad idea. Let's explore why that is.

600mAh. That is the capacity of the battery the TrueSmart will ship with. Omate claims "up to 100 hours of standby time." Yeah, I'm guessing that's with the 3G radio, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth all aggressively slept and the display turned off. Because the TrueSmart isn't using a power-sipping e-ink display, that means the display will be turned off most of the time (and not particularly visible in sunlight), unless you want your TrueSmart to rather quickly become a TruePaperweight. How about some screen-on, data-on power figures, guys? I'm guessing, and this is just a hunch, that they're probably not great!

My favorite part of the official Kickstarter video (well, one of them, I have many favorite parts - it is a masterpiece of cringe) is when they demo opening the standard Android Facebook app on the TrueSmart. By showing the login screen, and then promptly exiting the app. Hm, I wonder how Facebook looks on the TrueSmart's 1.54" 240x240 display? There couldn't possibly be any scaling issues. I'm sure Facebook will get around to fixing them, anyway. They also have Hangouts on the home screen, suggesting the TrueSmart will be Play Store certified, but nowhere in the Kickstarter is this actually stated.

They also claim to have created a "unique user interface" over Android, though it looks pretty much exactly like stock Android with a white-themed settings menu and some custom icons and apps.

Then there are the quotes. Here are a handful of the keepers.

  • "Smarter than all existing smartwatches, faster processing dual core brain than any other, most developer- & user-friendly Android 4.2 platform than the others, more functions than all, stronger than a rock with a protective metal casing and silicone strap, welcome to the new generation of Smartwatch 2.0, the Omate TrueSmart."
  • "At Omate, design is a mindset, not a department."
  • "True simplicity is about being able to enjoy and engage complex tasks without consciously thinking about them as tasks."
  • "It's the synergy of beauty and brains, simplifying complexity."
  • "I'm your TrueSmart, Omate TrueSmart."

Smartwatch 2.0. Shudder.

Smartwatches may very well be a good idea for some people, and for doing some things. There may be some pretty good smartwatches that'll come out in the next year or two. This is not going to be one of them, even if it will have the fervent backing of thousands of eager gadget addicts and Kickstarter enthusiasts.

Kickstarter

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • David Margolin

    I can almost feel it... The dual core processor slowly burning through my skin, almost forcing me to jump in the pool... thank god it's waterproof...

  • Richard

    Thanks for the heads-up, backed.

    Nah, just kidding!

  • Samuel Hart

    600?!?!
    WAT?!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      600.

      • Michael Pahl

        but kinda cool if it supported Google Play Music and bluetooth headphones.
        .... for 150 maybe.

        • OmateTrueSmart

          It's $179 for early birds now, and does support Google services including Google Play Music

      • Sirajuddin

        Yeah like two 300s!!

        This is OMATE!!!

    • WHO?

      Yea..... I would have to see it first to even pay $200. I need every blog to review it as well. Then released to Bestbuy so i can play with it. Once i figured it can't do all i need it to do.....I can go back home satisfied.

    • TwinkieFGR

      C'mon people, he's talking about the battery, not the price.
      It's 600mhz, which is pitiful. But it's a low res screen, so maybe a day and a half of moderate use? I'm being nice here.

      • OmateTrueSmart

        That estimation would be quite about right although we are still running tests of different usage. Standby time is est. up to 100 hours.

    • OmateTrueSmart

      Yes, 600mAH battery, compared to Sony's 110mAH :)

      • Samuel Hart

        Yeah but the Sony doesn't have 3G, Bluetooth, Wifi AND GPS to drain it like a muthafucker.

        • OmateTrueSmart

          Just because they are all there soesn't mean it's all to be used at the same time. It's not a phone and not meant to replace the phone. The option of having these features is that it lets the TrueSmart extend beyond the phone like when jogging.

  • Luke Skaff

    The beginning of this video is so bad, I almost felt like I was watching a parody. So many buzz words and marking lingo .

  • Johnny Hilderbrands

    I'm not sure if you realise but this is exactly the result of reporting stupidity around the current smart watch market. This exists because of silly people saying "but you have to tether it to a device with Bluetooth". Result: someone makes something like this way before the technology is ready. I work in the software development industry and we also have some hardware products and I would imagine the UI shots of what looks like vanilla Android is because they haven't finished the final product yet. I would hope when they do it will be as stated. I for one probably won't get this, likely I'll update my Sony smartwatch to the smartwatch 2. Its just too much to early. I would like to see some wearable tech based around a core like a core being in a no screen small box mostly with battery providing 4g, WiFi etc. and devices that can be attached, smart shoes, watches, glass. I know that's basically what a phone does but I guess there would be benefits of segregation.

  • irtechneo

    I do not understand the recent obsession with smart watches....Not my cup of tea. More power to you if you like it I just cannot get behind the obsession.

    • David Margolin

      you would be surprised by the functionality and simplicity a smartwatch can bring to your life.... I too, thought these were a bad idea until i tried one....but the idea described above is definitely not the right way to do things...

      • Sirajuddin

        Which one did you try? My current watch looks a lot like the Moto360, probably will go for that!

  • Ixil

    It looks like a lame scam, and people deserved to get ripped off if they fall for it.

    • OmateTrueSmart

      Hi, we would like to invite you to try us... talk to us and see if we are real :)

      • Sykonist

        Your smiley faces.. they're creepy.

        • OmateTrueSmart

          :) :) :)

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    So... they show the Facebook login screen and quickly exit it. How does one actually input your login info into it? Or do anything useful? A phone-connected keyboard? A tiny keyboard on the screen? How the hell do you input text into this thing?

    Nice picking apart piece, David. Are you Ron 2.0?

    • David Margolin

      minuum ;)

    • http://friskychatter.com/ _jsw_

      Voice dictation, of course. Keyboards are so old-school. The only real issue will be making sure your passwords are easily pronounceable. Sure, your friends will hear, but who cares? It's not like Facebook has privacy anyway.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Yeah... no. Voice dictation is nice when it works, but when it doesn't and you need to correct something without a good interface to do so or when you need to spell something out, it's a nightmare. Spelling out your password aloud? That's ridiculous.

        • http://friskychatter.com/ _jsw_

          You do know I was kidding, right? ;-)

          Obviously, you'll pull out your bluetooth keyboard. I'm guessing they'll add one as a stretch goal, preferably with velcro straps so you can strap it to your forearm. Maybe they'll even toss a 5000 mAh battery into the mix so you can use the watch for the entire day. And the whole BT KB/battery combo will still be smaller than the watch.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            No, you were totally serious. I just changed your mind, so now you're pretending like you were joking.

          • http://friskychatter.com/ _jsw_

            Busted. But I was totally kidding about the keyboard, unless you don't say how bad of an idea it is, in which case I was completely serious.

    • OmateTrueSmart

      The screen shows a stock Android (4.2.2) with minimum work done on it. One detail is that you might have noticed in the video a left swipe does the function of a back button.

      The hardware is ready. It's these software customisation, apps development, even picking the right third party apps, growing a strong developers community (head on to our G+ community and hang out with us +Omate TrueSmart).

      There'll be a keyboard app that enhances typing (such as Swiftkey), there'll be swipe controls, and voice-to-text. For long emails, these may not be good enough but we can keep those for the phone, For short ones like "OK I'll be there", "Where are you", "I miss you" some of the very popular IM stuff we send, it is quite adequate.

      The Kickstarter has just started, there's 29 day more to go, for us to keep you updated with the progress, see it as technerd entertainments? : )

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Thanks for stopping by and replying.

        • OmateTrueSmart

          Always a pleasure. We don;t hang out here that often so sometimes we might miss a comment or reply, please don't hold it against us. We do camp out on G+, FB and Twitter where we are always available for a comment, question or a laugh.

      • Raychi Pat

        Qwerty keyboard on such a tiny screen sounds like a bad idea. Perhaps they should consider the keypad (which we used to use on mobile phones before the existence of smartphones). I had this keypad as on-screen input on my tiny x10 mini pro, which was way more comfortable than qwerty on screen (speaking from someone whose fingers aint fat). And that little phone i used to own has way larger screen than this smartwatch.
        Anyway, it's great to see we're gonna have more options. :) Keep it up and good luck!

  • http://friskychatter.com/ _jsw_

    A co-worker clued me into this a few hours ago. At first, I wanted to pass, based on the horrible intro, the "screen views" that were clearly just cropped views of some other display, the fact that they cut away from the Facebook screen as soon as they'd have to actually type characters, the gigantic size, and so on.

    But then, at 1:16, I saw the kitten, and decided I had to back it. I mean, they have convinced people with kittens to be in their video, so it must be a great product.

    I am really looking forward to using it for watching Netflix, writing emails, and making calls, and I have begun training by taping a piece of cardboard with a stamp-sized cutout onto my Nexus 4's display. It's been frustrating, but I'm sure I'll learn.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      COTD.

      • sssgadget

        Call of The Duty?

        • Herman

          Call of The Duty is horrible.
          I prefer Battle The Field.

  • Shaftway

    The delivery schedule is suspiciously aggressive too. It's the end of August, then kickstarter won't be finished until middle of September, and they expect to ship in October?

    • http://friskychatter.com/ _jsw_

      I don't think it's pure coincidence that "Omate TrueSmart" is an anagram of "A Ream Uttermost".

    • WHO?

      These days thats the only way kickstarter funds are over exceeded. People want their product NOW. In America we hardly invest in anything unless its instant results. I don't blame them for attaching a quick launch date. At the same time I hope its not full of hardware issues.

      • OmateTrueSmart

        Hardware is good to go. Software is what we are working hard on now. In the coming Project Updates (watch for it), we'll be showing more and more of the work we are doing.

    • OmateTrueSmart

      The boards are production ready (The PCBs shown are from sample production run). Hardware is good to go. Software is where all the heavy work is right now. First batch in October goes out to developers who will definitely be a strong asset in enhancing the total experience for the users in November.

      • Shaftway

        So, then why are you doing a Kickstarter? Is this just a way to get some clout or press for your product: "Our product was overfunded by X% on Kickstarter."

        If the product is so close to being production ready, I don't see why you couldn't find angel investors or get a corporate loan to be able to fund your initial runs. When a product is this close to completion, Kickstarter is used as a marketing tactic, not a funding one.

        • OmateTrueSmart

          It's to fund the go-to-market, the production, the speeding up of software completion etc. Indeed you are right, we could have gone to other sources of funding like private / angel investors or banks (we even said this in the project text), but we chose to go crowd-funding. For one, it's a crowd-funded product that serves the interest of the crowd (you can check the comments page on our KICKSTATER project, see our interaction with the backers to check if what we just said is true). And there is absolutely no reason why a crowd-funding should be a second choice of funding behind or inferior to other choices of funding, where in fact it is superior source of funding, at least for us - and we did evaluate this pretty much.

  • Albin Hermansson

    The first minute felt like a cheap ripoff off an Apple commercial. The rest was even worse.

  • bloosr

    Well, yeah, it's huge. If you have girly hands.

  • OmateTrueSmart

    Guys, feel free to check in with us if you have any questions about Omate TrueSmart, the Kickstarter project, our team, or about our existence :)

    • TwinkieFGR

      Honestly your product isn't for me, it's too feature-rich, and it appears to not be very svelte as a result.
      But I think you at least deserve some credit for jumping into the lions den here and answering some concerns instead of completely ignoring criticisms. I hope your team is serious, and I hope you succeed in making what you are putting on the table. Even if I'm not interested, good competition makes for good products.

      • OmateTrueSmart

        Thank you! Very encouraging words . Indeed a smartwatch is not for everyone yer at this moment (just like a smartphone was not for everyone not too many years back). One difference between a smartwatch and a smartphone is that a smartwatch is a lot more personal than a smartphone! You wear it with you instead of keepoing it in your pocket. That's the reason why right from the beginning we stuck to our design brief that our watch must look like a watch, feel like a watch, wear like a watch (just very much smarter). People love watches or hate them, it's normal. Most people have either a few watches or they have none. Very few have ONE. Likewise for Smartwatches, there must be diversity. So every Smartwatch that comes to the market, if it's a good product, is good step for everyone. For us, we'll ensure we follow our design and product principles and deliver a great product for some people. :)

        ps. the svelte-ness will come from the apps, which ihas not even been shown yet - it is a crowdfunding - the hardware is ready for production, it's the software we are busy with. Also creating a vibrant developer's community is a key focus now (check out our Google+ community). It's the apps that make the will make the TrueSmart great, otherwise the watch is just a watch that tells time.

  • Justin Moore

    This feels very much like a cash grab. How the hell do you bring this kind of product to market for $100,000? Even if they do, somehow, produce some number of these things, this is just a tiny, ugly phone (not a smartwatch) that will get too hot and have too short of a battery life to actually use.

    • OmateTrueSmart

      This crowd-funding is to fund the "go-to-market" part, getting into production, completing the apps faster so we could compete on time to market etc. The development process has already been funded by ourselves, so the product is ready for production, with the final steps of material purchasing, software completion. This is explained in the "Shipment Plan" part towards the end of the KICKSTARTER project. And thanks to the awesome Kickstart with successful funding within the first day, we are able to start production plans already on Day 2!! Shiipping is October for Developers, November for user.

      If you look longer at the TrueSmart, you'll find it looks like a watch, the one smartwatch that looks like a watch and doesn't look like a smartwatch (internally very smart though) and certainly doesn't look like phone.

      • Justin Moore

        Thanks for your reply, Omate. Since you're here, a few quick questions, if you don't mind:

        * How long is the battery life?
        * Why don't you show an operational prototype in the video if you're just in the "go-to-market" part?
        * The UI demo doesn't show anything resembling a watch face, Why?
        * How is the watch face made available when the LCD screen is off (a necessity of any smartwatch)?
        * What do you mean by a "3G dual-core processor"? Do you mean a 3G radio AND a dual-core processor?

        Thanks!

        • OmateTrueSmart

          Hi Justin, first of all sorry for the late reply. As we're trying to answer questions on several boards we're kind of all over the place.

          As for your questions, and do keep in mind we are still in a stage of completion of the software side of things, here are the answers:

          * Battery life estimated standby time is 100hrs. Of course you want to know what the effective battery life is when actually using it a full day. We're running field tests on the latest model as we speak and will post the results very soon.
          * Knowing that we would still be developing/finalizing the software for the watch we decided not to show any early UI that might give people the wrong idea. However, video blogs are in the works and will be posted in the next week, showing where we are right now and how you get around several features and apps.
          * Of course, being a smart WATCH, we will have several watch faces to choose from. These will soon be shared publically.
          * With a flick of the wrist the watch will show the watch face.
          * Yes I meant a dual core (1.3GHz) processor and a 3G radio.

  • Danny Davis

    I feel absolutely compelled to save that kitten and keep it out of harm's way.
    I'm sorry, looks like a nice niche product, but 1. I don't need another device my phone can do on a 4.7 inch screen and not straining to read FB feeds and 2. don't feel the need to waste more money on a sim when it should just be wifi only for connection for something that small.
    Good luck though.

  • Jarl

    i don't see the point of an independent smartwatch with all that functionality. Or a color screen.
    I'm backing the Hot Watch, to use as a watch, to see who's calling and then use the private calling function, that's all I 'need'.

    • OmateTrueSmart

      TrueSmart has dual role - companion and standalone (hmm quite like today's relationships great companionship but not dependent on each other haha) The standalone smartwatch role of the TrueSmart is great for those instances when you think "Oh should I bring the phone" (everyone has those moments). Jogging, cycling, swimming, a day at the beach, even clubbing.

  • Phill_S

    Why are people backing a smartwatch today when Samsung has all but told everyone they are announcing a smartwatch called Gear in two weeks?

    Like what do they think that thing has that Samsung definitely wont? Except the unknowable probability this will be vapourware, of course.

    • OmateTrueSmart

      Omate TrueSmart is production ready :-) and thanks to the awesome KICKSTART successful funding within the first day, we've able to start production preparations already, from Day 2 of the campaign!

      ps. no picture-perfect computer renderings have been used because we wanted to show and tell people exactly where we are in our product process (which is what crowdfunding / KICKSTARTER is all about) instead of showing concept vaporware. If we wanted to vaporware this, we would have done so a year ago!! Indeed it takes that long to develop, the difference is that we decided to Kickstart the "bringing it to market" part, rather than the development part which we funded ourselves.

  • GraveUypo

    wristwatches have been dead to me since i was 10. no more ugly white strip around my wrist.
    i'm STILL not sold on tablets (for me, my mother and father seem to love them), but i see their value. smartwatches on the other hand... that has no real use.

  • Ryan Stuckmaier

    My favorite part was the line, "and because it's on your wrist, your omate truesmart follows you whereever you go." Followed by the watch attached to a bike handle, not a wrist.

    • OmateTrueSmart

      Bikers love to put their watch there, seriously, we spent time talking to a lot of bikers - it's their advice and we took that expert / community advice

      • Ryan Stuckmaier

        Oh I'm not arguing that, I just found it funny you used that image while saying that it never leaves your wrist.

        • Sirajuddin

          Maybe bike handles are the bikers' wrists!!

  • steelew

    COME ON KREYOS!!!

  • SeBsZ

    I seriously just backed them :). I'm liking this. Doesn't look that huge to me. I am liking their customer-facing attitude (as evidenced in this thread here). I trust they will ship me a watch ASAP, I have some apps in mind to develop.

    • OmateTrueSmart

      Thanks for the support. Nice! Developer spotted in the wild... we're hunting developers! Yes, you! :-) Esp. cool that you've already got some apps in mind to develop. Join our Omate TrueSmart Developers community on G+, we'll be starting some activities (App contest, best app idea etc) to stimulate apps development. Also not sure if you've seen our latest announcement : we have confirmed the decision to ship with Google Play App store so it's the maximum access to apps for users, and also maximum access to users for app developers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

    Camera? Damn... I was hoping that was a web-shooter. :*(

    • OmateTrueSmart

      One day, one fine day, we'll be able to add that !!
      Acrually, that's exactly what it is, the camera is the fun addition, doesn't affect the size at all, so why not. James Bond comes to mind? :-)

  • John_NHT

    A lot of bitchin' about something that no one even has yet.

  • John_NHT

    I DO commend them for responding directly to people's doubts and whatnot at this stage. I'd fund them.

    • OmateTrueSmart

      THANKS!!! :-)

  • Raychi Pat

    The idea of having camera on the watch is creepy like Google glasses...

  • Brad

    How do you complain about something that is obviously not targeted at you. Since you have no interest in using it, you should have no opinion, at least not one that counts. You will probably never use a pacifier because you are too old for it now. So, stop putting stupid posts on the Internet about things that you don't know.

  • KyleRay

    I have to wholeheartedly agree with this writer on the Omate "Better Than the Real Thing" including real sex or neopolitan ice cream at pleasing any and every prospective investor. Until they actually if ever get manufactured at some virtually impossible low price.

    They've got super ambitious ideas and goals, but when I heard they're shooting for having SPARES of everything and even greater battery life than first targeted, I knew this was a con job looking for a black hole in outer space to hide in. Not just a Moonshot like Google does with multi-millions of dollars to play with. Not to mentions Samsung's BILLIONS of DOLLARS they spend not even blinking an eye or actually making their Moonshots actually make it to stores. Remember the Galaxy Note w/ S Pen (Phablet) wasn't even supposed to be a success. Let alone their 2nd best selling phone line in just 2 yrs.

    So in reality if the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung (the absolute King of the Beast w/ not just publicly held divisions, but as a Privately held Family Conglomerate, more like the Saudi Royals backing them up) with their Galaxy Gear are getting pissed on for not being innovative enough, what makes anybody think a no name startup with less funding and brain power, will have a chance to do any better?

    Sorry, but dreams are made of more than just good ideas or intentions and it only takes one dissatisfied and irate investor to iSue you right back out of business. Either because you didn't hire cousin sue to do your bookkeeping or include his wonderful fish face design for your logo! hahaha..... and like the women in our lives always say ......"promises promises promises." That's just what she says when you can't get it up every single time you try!!! ;-P

    With everybody and his twin stepbrother trying to out do Samsung, Sony, Google, Apple on SmartWatches, they'll find every in the crowd to buy into it!

  • adamhs

    Most people in this thread are the same people who probably said nobody would ever need a tablet, it's just a BIGGER phone!

  • derek jones

    just looking or a 3g phone watch that can function as a mobile hotspot. any ideas?

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