Updated on 12-07-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added news that the campaign is live and funding has already been met and surpassed.
The Omate Rise isn’t just another Bluetooth accessory for your smartphone. It has a SIM card slot, so it’s capable of actually replacing your phone. If that’s not for you, then it’ll happily connect up using Bluetooth and serve notifications from your current device, whether it runs Android or iOS. What’s more, it doesn’t run Android Wear, or a proprietary operating system either; the Omate Rise runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with Omate’s own OIU 4.0 skin over the top.
If you’re grimacing over the thought of a custom user interface, don’t forget Android’s being displayed on a circular 1.3-inch, 360 x 360 pixel screen here, and therefore has to be adapted for ease of use. It’s a compromise that’s essential to the Rise’s operation. Using full Android means the watch can operate as a phone — a feature only just introduced on Android Wear — and run regular apps, just like on your smartphone.
The watch’s body is made from polycarbonate with a carbon fiber bezel for some character, while the screen has a sapphire coating for extra toughness. The strap measures 22mm and can be swapped out for one of your choice. The watch itself is quite large at 44m wide, but it’s water resistant to a depth of one meter.
Inside is a MediaTek 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage space, while the SIM slot takes a micro card and will connect to 3G HSDPA networks in the U.S. and Europe. There’s also GPS and Wi-Fi, a speaker and a microphone, a magnetometer and a gyroscope, plus a 580mAh battery. There’s no indication of how much usage time the cell will provide, but it’ll depend on how the watch is used. Connect to a network and make some calls, and we doubt it’ll last for long.
Omate aims to deliver the pre-orders in March 2016. The first 500 Rise watches cost just $200. Miss out, and the next 500 will be $210, and both these models will come with a chest belt heart rate sensor. Subsequent watches will be yours for $220, but won’t come with the sensor. All the models sold on Indiegogo will have a limited edition number assigned and engraved on the case.
If a 3G, circular, Android smartwatch for $200 sounds interesting — and why wouldn’t it — then make sure you’re on Indiegogo on December 7 to pick one up.