Smartwatches and keyboards don’t always fit in the same sentence, mostly because these pieces of wearable tech have tiny screens. The developers of the Omate TrueSmart smartwatch plan to integrate the Fleksy keyboard into it, thus solving the problem once and for all.
Manufacturers of smartwatches often build these as companions for smartphones and tablets. Hence, the main focus is on displaying notifications and on running apps that require little to no interaction. Samsung Galaxy Gear and the Pebble smartwatch don’t even have a keyboard, fact that takes away a lot from the functionality of a smartwatch. From this point of view, Omate TrueSmart is different, as it is meant to work equally fine with or without a smartphone. On top of that, it has highly functional keyboard, called Fleksy, that will help you write text messages and interact differently with apps.
Nick N.M. Yap gave SlashGear an extended interview, and among other things, he stated:
“Like all Android systems you have your on screen keyboards. There’s the standard Android Keyboard. Here you can see a video of the standard Keyboard, TrueSmart’s ultra-sensitive touchscreen makes it very easy and responsive to type. Of course, we are not expecting you to write your novel on the TrueSmart, but you can see for messages it’s perfectly convenient.
All the various languages keyboards available in Android is certainly available in TrueSmart too so you can type conveniently in your own language. You can also install multiple keyboards (multiple language keyboards) and switch between them easily.
Predictive keyboards are also a huge trend. Many users have your own favorite keyboards – by all means install them and use them. By the time this article publishes, we should have achieved our stretch goal of Fleksy keyboard. Fleksy is a predictive keyboard with the addition of something very unique that no one else has – an invisible mode. With the invisible mode on, the keyboard is there but turns invisible so your app has full screen.
You can see more of your app, more of your content, more of your text and that is very useful on a smartwatch – TrueSmart is the first to bring this to you, always setting new standards in smartwatch and defining the Smartwatch 2.0 standards. Fleksy has also told us they would fully support us and develop for TrueSmart users a ‘semi-invisible’ mode (using transparency) which is best of both worlds.
Other than keyboards, you can also use voice-to-text input – very convenient for quick messages on the go. This is built into the Android system already and in addition to the standard Android one, there are also plenty of voice-to-text apps, voice-to-text dictionaries, search etc.
And indeed TrueSmart supports Bluetooth keyboard and mouse too. That totally turns the TrueSmart into something like a tiny computer on your wrist, not our design intention of ‘staying in touch on the go,’ but yes you can use it that way. We understand and support diversity and we know every user will use it in their own way. We won’t be focusing much on that though, as we want to emphasize that onscreen keyboard is the perfect input method. The Bluetooth keyboard simply works. Bluetooth headsets, Bluetooth heart-rate monitors are also some of the popular Bluetooth accessories you can use with your TrueSmart.”
Below is a video of the standard Android keyboard used on the Omate TrueSmart smartwatch. The problem with it is that it takes most of the screen and you can only see one line of text.
Next is the Omate TrueSmart smartwatch with Fleksy Beta invisible keyboard. This is truly a unique approach as the invisible keyboard enables you to see the app in full screen, without obstructing any visible areas.
The Omate TrueSmart smartwatch is currently featured on Kickstarter and will be so for three more days. Omate planned to raise $100,000 so that the smartwatch gets mass produced. However, since the campaign started, people backed the project with more than $835,000 (at press time), so the existence of the TrueSmart smartwatch has become a certainty. Early birds had the chance to secure a smartwatch for them by backing the project with $179 or $189, but standard and developer editions are priced at $199, a bit more than the Pebble smartwatches, but a lot less than Samsung’s Galaxy Gear.