No matter how smart Apple and other, similar companies want to claim their watches to be, the truth of the matter...they aren't. One of the most telling points to prove this is the ability to make calls. Yes, the Apple product does have a speaker and a mic that allow you to communicate via phone with a contact. That communication, however, is actually handled through the associated smartphone. The reality is, you cannot place a call through the Apple Watch unless you have your iPhone nearby. The same holds true for the Android equivalent watches.
Unless your Android-powered watch happens to be manufactured by Omate.
The Omate TrueSmart+ accepts a SIM card to turn it into the world's first truly smartwatch. The watch runs Lollipop 5.1 and includes features like:
- Always on sensor hub
- Double tap to wake
- Easy SIM card insertion
- 320x320 Resolution
- Rugged straps
- Magnetic charging cradle
- Bluetooth ready
- WiFi ready
- 2G and 3G compatible
There are a few downfalls attached to the TrueSmart+. The first is that it doesn't include a camera. But honestly, this wearable isn't about replicating every feature found on the smartphone. This is about the ability to place calls, sans smartphone, from your wrist. Imagine the possibilities this brings to life. Mobility becomes exponentially easier.
The second downfall is a question of product quality. Omate did a kickstarter campaign for their original TrueSmart and failed to deliver a quality product. For those that don't like to take chances on unproven technology, it would be wise to hold off and wait for the product to ship. I have requested a review unit of the TrueSmart+ and will report back my findings, should the review unit appear.
Finally, there is the matter of networks (at least when looking at it with a US market perspective). The only bands available to use the TrueSmart+ on are 2 and 3 G. This completely leaves out Verizon (as they are phasing out their 3G network). That, of course, is fine as this device won't work on the Verizon network anyway. But many possible consumers would be concerned that they'd purchase such a device, only to find it quickly irrelevant due to the lack of available networks.
But when you step beyond the borders of the US, you'll find that 3G is actually the norm and 4G the exception. On top of that, the phasing out of 3G will take years, so the TrueSmart+ will still be relevant for quite some time (even in the US). And when you consider the $169.00 USD retail price, it's not a lot of money you'd be losing should, after even just a couple of years, the workable networks are gone. Besides, by then, the smartwatch market will most likely be flooded with similar products (that function on all networks).
The Omate TrueSmart+ is exactly what the wearable market needs... a device that actually encompasses the functionality wearables should have, without relying on an accompanying phone.
If you're looking to purchase such a device, you're in luck. Pre-orders for the TrueSmart+ are already available. The devices will ship in November 2015.
This type of wearable advancement does hold promise. Yes, there are a lot of questions surrounding the product, but should Omate deliver, this could be a wearable game-changer.
What do you think? Could such a smartwatch be relevant, or is this little more than a gimmick that holds no chance of delivering?
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.