Back in September 2013 I jumped onto a Kickstarter campaign for a Smart watch I was sure was going to break new ground. Whilst everyone was talking about their Sony Smartwatch and their Pebble, I was lusting after something a little more adventurous. The Omate Truesmart. Was I caught up in the hype of wearable tech? Was the idea of a crowd funded, technically superior, smart watch actually too adventurous? Perhaps.
September 5th 2013 I pledged $214 (around £127 by today’s money) to Omate’s Truesmart Kickstarter campaign for the world’s most advanced smart watch. This watch not only allowed you to pair it with your bluetooth enabled smart phone and receive notifications, but also promised a SIM slot to enable stand alone (do watches stand?) data functionality and the ability to work completely independently from another device courtesy of it’s modified Android OS.
Now we all know that backing programmes on sites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo presents certain risks. Startup companies have yet to establish (or in some cases, even understand) supply chain relationships with manufacturers or distributors, and this, coupled with additional costs during a project startup, can add long delays. The original delivery estimate for my particular package was November 2013. We’re in May 2014 and I have just received my DHL tracking number so hope to have the device itself shortly. I would like to add at this point that the majority of the delays have been to UK/EU orders, as many US backers already have their watch on their wrist. I’ve waited so long that even my late pre-order for a Pebble came before this.
I have backed numerous items on Kickstarter (Pressy and Vavo to name two) and I’ve experienced long delays (not this long though) on all tech related items. So, this begs the question. Will my Truesmart watch be a worthwhile addition to my tech stable given it’s almost 9 months on from conception?
The fact that on Omate’s official website now has a nice large poster showing that device itself has now “sold out” doesn’t fill me with confidence. I’m fully expecting them to get over the hurdle of delivering all remaining backer parcels and then look to a 2.0 device within the next 6 months. That leaves me with a slightly bitter taste in my mouth.
Yes, it will be able to deliver something other smart watches currently cannot; a truly independent solution to the phone, but it will be running on largely “old” software. Even XDA Developers haven’t jumped all over this as originally expected with very few ROMs available. There seems to be much debate over the quality of the materials used and a large sense that this was simply toe-dipping exercise to get some funding partners on board in order to make a real fist of it with a version 2/3.
I can only hope that when Android Wear comes on the scene shortly, we can look to get developers enthusiastic about the device again. I have to say, it’s a long shot given the myriad of negative posts on XDA.
All that being said, I’m looking forward to a new gadget (of course) and I’ll put some thoughts on it up on here once I’m done playing. My main concern however is how long I’ll be able to play with it before something else grabs my attention. Had this been delivered in November 2013 as advertised then it truly could have caused more waves. This, my friends, is a lesson in marketing and distribution over technical proficiency.