Latest smartwatch is standalone Android phone

A watch with a built-in 5 megapixel camera has become the latest project to meet its Kickstarter funding target. The Omate Truesmart can also make and receive calls and get online without needing to be paired to a smartphone.

In a sign of how quickly tech moves, the developers are billing the product as the first second-generation Smartwatch. They say that unlike most existing and in-development models, the Truesmart is an Android device in its own right and thus can run third-party apps just like a smartphone. However, it can also hook up to a smartphone if you want.

The system runs Android 4.2.2: although it runs the “full” software, the interface is customized to fit the small screen of 240 x 240 pixels. It uses larger than normal icons, with the home page set-up with four icons, and you swipe in place of a back button. Videos of the prototype suggest four icons or menu options is about as many as you can fit on this screen and still be sure of accurately selecting with a finger.

Despite being barely larger than an ordinary watch, the device contains a dual-core processor, along with a speaker and microphone, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, GPS, and a slot for a micro-SIM card compatible with GSM or 3G networks. The watch also has 512MB of on-board memory plus a microSD slot for further expansion.

The design is water-resistant (with sealed covers for the card slots), though the touchscreen won’t work when wet. The developers say this is important as, unlike a phone, you are much more likely to accidentally splash a watch. It has physical side buttons that can mean you can still carry out key functions even when the screen it wet.

The developers have already made fully-working prototypes (albeit not in the planned casing) and are now seeking funding to bring it to market. They reached their goal of $100,000 on the first day, so it’s likely they’ll get a sizable take.

A production facility in China is already lined up and the plan is to deliver the first watches, costing $299, in October.

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