Omate is setting their watch hands to point towards fashionable wearables, rather than high tech smartwatches.
A startup company, Omate did what many others with ideas for an innovative smartwatch did, and used crowdfunding to kick start their concept. By the time their campaign ended in September of
2013, they had raised over $1 million USD, far exceeding their initial goal of $100,000 USD which had been met in the first 13 hours of the event.
Development and distribution of this Omate TrueSmart smartwatch was delayed, but the company handled the disappointment professionally by sending those who had ordered the 512MB + 4GB version with an 1GB + 8GB. instead. Delivery began in June of 2014 and completed to all backers by July. Once released, it became the world’s first stand alone smartwatch running with Android.
Since the release of the TrueSmart, Omate has gone on to develop and market a number of other smartwatch devices that stand out, not alone because they stand alone, but because they don’t look like wearable gear. The TrueSmart is understated with a steel case and rubber wrist band, not looking much different from other first generation smartwatches, while its younger siblings are more stylish.
The next in line for Omate smartwatches was the Omate X and Lutetia. The Omate X is a rectangular faced smartwatch with a 1.54 inch touch screen with 240 x 240 pixels. Moving away from Android, the Omate X uses the Nucleus RT operating system to push notifications from your mobile phone to the smartwatch. This allows the smartwatch to sync with mobile phones using iOS7 and higher as well as Android 4.3 and higher.
Next was the Lutetia, dubbed the first smartwatch that took women's daintier wrists into consideration. Round faced and elegant, the Lutetia smartwatch has the same operating specifications as the Omate 3. Neither of the two have full-fledged smartwatch functions, but they do act as a pedometer, play music and have voice control features along with notifications. According to a Omate executive, the Lutetia is not competing with smartwatches, but rather designer smart-looking watches from the likes of Michael Kors or Guess.
Due to be released in 2015 are the Omate Racer and the Omate Roma. Both feature the more traditional round display style, with the Racer sporting a sporty look, while the Roma is classic style much like the Omate Lutetia. It is rumoured that the prestigious Richline group has partnered with Omate to make the smartwatches available in retail stores in the UK and United States. This only goes to further show how they are setting their marketing sights on jewellery with smartwatch capabilities, rather than smartwatches. The Richline Group also holds exclusive rights to the fashion forward Marie Claire brand.
Who is behind the Omate brand?
Omate remains somewhat of a mystery, as there is very little about them as a company that has been posted online. Even their own website description is vague at best, citing that they were founded by a group of telecom professionals and mobile phone design experts.
They are headquartered in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, which is a dedicated UNESCO City of Design. This could help explain the concerted efforts to make smart time pieces that are aesthetically appealing. In their own brief company description they even admit to valuing a high sense of fashion, as technology is what is carried, but fashion is always worn.
Omate smartwatch pricing
Besides the look, one of the most talked about features of Omate’s upcoming collection of smartwatches has been the price. For example, the Omate X was available for pre-order in September for $138 AUD. The Omate Racer is available now for pre-order at $139 USD. When released, the Omate X was $129 USD and the Lutetia $169 USD. These prices are considerably lower than the majority of smartwatches being introduced to the market.
As of now, all released models of Omate smartwatches have sold-out from the website, and only the Omate Racer is available for pre-order. This could be in anticipation of its introduction to retail outlets through the Richland Group. That is only speculation, but with a line of smartwatches that finally look more like a watch, it would be a shame for the brand not to continue forward.
The smartwatch market is moving quickly right now, with start-up companies coming and going as they try to compete with the likes of Android Wear and Apple Watch. Omate is one that is able to stand out from the crowd with an entirely different look, where how it looks on the outside is just as important as the software contained inside.
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