Omate TrueSmart’s promise of Google Play Store support looks ominous (Update: Omate responds)

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The smartwatch is nothing new, but the concept of a wrist smart device has been the cause of much talk lately. Among the most popular is the Omate TrueSmart, which is a big deal for a small company competing against Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony and the likes. Many say this is the smartwatch to have (which one are you getting?), but there may be a small issue that could bring the launch (and maybe even the company) down.

Omate recently went to Kickstarter for support (like many small companies have). This site is great for companies to make their ideas possible by allowing customers to back the product before it goes into production. Some great devices have become possible due to Kickstarter, and Omate is all set to be the next. It seems there will be some forks in the road, though.

The Omate TrueSmart and what makes it special

Despite multiple attempts, no manufacturer has managed to solve the equation for the perfect smartwatch. There is always something missing. The Omate TrueSmart promises a whole new concept. The device can stay alive for up to 100 hours (on standby) on a single charge, it has powerful specs, it is water resistant, features 3G connectivity and more.

Omate TrueSmart specifications

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  • 1.3 GHz dual-core Cortex A7 processor
  • Android 4.2.2
  • 1.54-inch TFT display (240 x 240)
  • Multi-touch Capacitive Touch Screen
  • 2G/3G/WiFi/bluetooth 4.0/GPS
  • 5 MP camera
  • Speaker & microphone
  • 512MB + 4GB of internal storage (expandable by microSD 8/16/32GB)
  • Micro SIM card slot
  • 600 mAh battery (up to 100 hours standby)
  • Messaging Hub: SMS/MMS/Email/SNS
  • G-sensor (Accelerometer), E-Compass, Gyroscope, IP67

Indeed, the Omate TrueSmart is one smartwatch to love. This is a full-featured device, and that is what makes it special. The TrueSmart can be used as a completely standalone unit, as well as a companion device to your smartphone.

The Omate TrueSmart can be completely operated without ever being connected to a smartphone. In fact, Omate promises it won’t even need a secondary device for downloading and installing apps! It is advertised to comes with the Google Play Store out of the box. And that’s where the discrepancy lies.

What is the problem with the Omate TrueSmart?

Though Omate promises full compatibility with the Google Play Store, such feat could be impossible. Kevin Barry from TeslaCoil brought to our attention that the Omate TrueSmart has a 240x240p screen (ldpi: 320x320dp). This would be below Google’s requirements for passing the Play Store’s CTS (Compatibility Test Suite).

An Android device screen must be at least 426x320dp in order to officially get support from the Google Play Store (as per Android development documents). This argument was then verified by Google Android’s very own Dianne Hackborn. Does this mean it’s impossible for the device to run the Google Play Store? Not really.

Developers can find ways and workarounds to get the Play Store to run on any device. We have seen it happen countless times – but this is done by third-party developers, unofficially and without Google’s support.

Omate could get in HUGE legal trouble for officially releasing a non-qualified device with the Google Play Store. So what’s happening here?!

Google Play Store wm watermark

Umm… what’s going on, then?

All legalities aside, Omate seems to be really sure about their promise to bring the TrueSmart with Google Play Store support. What could be happening? Here are the only possible occurrences we can think of:

  1. Omate knows something we don’t, and Google might be changing its rules soon.
  2. Omate got some kind of green light from Google?
  3. Omate didn’t realize this requirement exists and will not be able to move forward (compatibility, lawsuits, etc.).

We would really hate to see the third option being correct. If they go ahead and just ship the TrueSmart with the Google Play Store, they will have problems with Google. And you don’t want an Android device that Google is not happy with.

On the other hand, if Omate strips the Play Store from the TrueSmart backers and customers will not be happy. After all, it is about the biggest factor that makes the TrueSmart truly special.

What do you think?

We are not sure exactly what is going to happen. Phandroid’s very own developer Steve Albright is now in talks with the Omate team trying to figure out what is going on. You can be sure we will let you know what is going on as soon as we find out, but please let us know what you think!

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Maybe Google changing its rules to support smaller screens may make sense. After all, smartwatches are becoming very popular and it would be nice to see more options like the TrueSmart coming.

Meanwhile, you can go ahead and check out everything about the Omate Truesmart in the official site, as well as the Kickstarter page. We would hold off on backing the product until more is known, though. The smartwatch is great, but having Google’s support is a big deal. Some of you might not be worried about this, though.

If the resolution continues to be a problem, the best solution I could see is to change the display to a higher-resolution one. Of course, that is easier said than done. What do you say – do you think Google will work with Omate to make this possible? Is this whole situation just a ticking bomb?

Update: Omate responds

Omate has responded to our Google+ post on this matter and things are looking good!

“We are communicating with Google AND are committed to giving users access to play apps store.” -Omate TrueSmart

It seems Omate has this under control. We still don’t know if Google will change its terms or Omate its display, but the company is pretty sure about this.

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  • TeeJay1100

    Uh ooooooo

  • Delmar

    Looks interesting to say the least

  • BJ Van Gundy

    Is another solution not available by telling Google to go pound sand and just offer the TrueSmart (I’m and KickStarter backer) with the Amazon App Store instead? Maybe the threat to do so would get Google’s attention at least.

    And I’m a backer because THIS is the THE SMART PHONE to have. I’m a Samsung fan boy and will be getting the Note 3 (on a 2 now) but have no interest in the Gear vs. the True Smart.

  • Russell Guy

    Hopefully everything will get sorted out with a happy ending but I’m not pulling my backing from this one. Even without Google Play support I think this will be the most fully functional and full spectrum smart watch available for a little while.

  • leaponover

    No thanks….it’s a brick. I’m going Hot smartwatch that just got funded on kickstarter. Has a speaker on the band and when you cup your palm and hold it up to your ear it magnifies the sounds and makes a clear call that only you can hear. With that said obviously a call on a watch is going to be very rare, but it’s nice to have such a genius way of handling it when it does.

    • Russell Guy

      Yeah I just funded the HOTwatch as well myself. I’m going to be watch rich lol.

    • http://flavors.me/sabret00the sabret00the

      Ehhhh, just like the Galaxy Gear, it’s not really a SmartWatch though, it’s just a phone extension.

  • François Verollet

    I am a TrueSmart backer, and even without Play Store access I would not pul my back off. I think this swatch has much more than the competitors can offer (especially standalone capabilities).

    • mary782

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  • Unorthodox

    I’ve looked at that KS page for 30 minutes yesterday, but at the end decided to wait for whatever Google has to offer in watch dept. And frankly all of the specs sound just too good to be true. Reminded me of that Notion Ink’s tablet,

  • Ed Carter

    I have a Pebble, Sony Smartwatch, and backer of the HOT Watch on Kickstarter. I also backed the OMate in the first 2 hours on Kickstarter and have been watching (pun intended) the progress being made keeping in mind the option to drop support at the last minute.

    While the build materials are the biggest draw for me (sapphire crystal), with the flexibility to do custom app development via Java and Play Store deployment is also compelling. Even if the whole “Smartwatch as a standalone cell phone” part works well, I intend to only use this as a Bluetooth tethered extension of my phone with the cell radio turned off. With a battery scaled for cell radios, overall watch life without cell should be great, and all I need is a way to interact with the cell phone already in my pocket (without the need to take it out).

    The only deficiency in my mind with the OMate is the inability to take calls from the watch without a bluetooth headset (or being in a really quiet location). The HOT Watch solves this very elegantly, and that is why I also have backed their solution. In the end, for me these come down to relatively inexpensive toys I can use to explore wearable tech, just like I have before (can anyone remember Newton, Tablet PCs, Pocket Computers?), each imperfect but advancing my understanding of tech enhanced daily life…