Smartwatches

Senior-focused smartwatch has GPS-enabled safety net, baked-in 3G

The Omate Wherecom S3 is a standalone wearable aimed squarely at seniors
The Omate Wherecom S3 is a standalone wearable aimed squarely at seniors
View 7 Images
The Omate Wherecom S3 is a standalone wearable aimed squarely at seniors
1/7
The Omate Wherecom S3 is a standalone wearable aimed squarely at seniors
The Omate Wherecom S3 includes an alarms app to let seniors keep track of medication schedules
2/7
The Omate Wherecom S3 includes an alarms app to let seniors keep track of medication schedules
The skinned version of Android puts key apps like contacts, medication reminders and the dialer in a single row, with simple, clear visuals
3/7
The skinned version of Android puts key apps like contacts, medication reminders and the dialer in a single row, with simple, clear visuals
There's built-in GPS on the device, allowing family members to locate the wearer whenever desired
4/7
There's built-in GPS on the device, allowing family members to locate the wearer whenever desired
The S3 is powered by a dual core MediaTek processor clocked at 1 GHz, paired with 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of storage
5/7
The S3 is powered by a dual core MediaTek processor clocked at 1 GHz, paired with 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of storage
A push of the SOS button on the side of the watch will instantly forward the user's location to selected contacts, via either Wi-Fi or the baked-in 3G
6/7
A push of the SOS button on the side of the watch will instantly forward the user's location to selected contacts, via either Wi-Fi or the baked-in 3G
Omate states that the 600 mAh battery on board should keep the watch running for three days on a single charge
7/7
Omate states that the 600 mAh battery on board should keep the watch running for three days on a single charge

Omate's new smartwatch – the Wherecom S3 – is built specifically for seniors. With a simple UI alongside built-in GPS and 3G, the idea is to allow the user to leave their phone at home, providing them with a safety net in the form of an SOS button, and allowing loved ones to locate them if needed.

The S3 has a lot in common with Omate's more mainstream Truesmart+. Aside from having almost identical looks, both devices are designed to work without being tethered to a smartphone, with baked-in 3G connectivity.

The idea of wearables for seniors is certainly compelling from the point of view of loved ones being able to keep in touch with, and keep an eye on, their elderly relatives. On the other hand, smartwatches are currently a niche product, and we could see it being a challenge teaching some seniors to use the wearable properly.

That said, Omate has made an effort to keep things simple with the S3. Unlike the Truesmart+, which does its best to squeeze a full Android experience onto your wrist, the new device only presents the essential features to the user. The skinned version of Android puts key apps like contacts, medication reminders and the dialer in a single row, with simple visuals.

A push of the SOS button on the side of the watch will instantly forward the user's location to selected contacts, via either Wi-Fi or the baked-in 3G
A push of the SOS button on the side of the watch will instantly forward the user's location to selected contacts, via either Wi-Fi or the baked-in 3G

There's also built-in GPS on the device, allowing family members to locate the wearer whenever desired. A push of the SOS button on the side of the watch will also instantly forward the user's location to selected contacts, via either Wi-Fi or the baked-in 3G.

The S3 is powered by a dual core MediaTek processor clocked at 1 GHz, paired with 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of storage. The display measures 1.54 inches, with a resolution of 320 x 320. Aside from the built-in 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, there's a pedometer included, and Omate states that the 600 mAh battery on board should keep the watch running for three days on a single charge.

The Omate Wherecom S3 will launch in September in Europe for an unlocked price of €149 (about US$170). There are currently no details just yet on a US release, though there is a version of the 3G antenna that's set up for US carrier frequencies, so it's likely we'll see it hit the States at some point.

Product page: Wherecom S3

2 comments
Larushka
I have to wonder how many seniors they worked with to create this. I am a consultant in tech for seniors and cannot tell you how many products I test that are not practical or difficult to use due to eyesight, hand shakes or arthritis. Sadly this product looks to fall into this category.
JamieCole
I agree with Larushka. We have spent time researching 'wearables' because they are now in fashion but our evidence suggests that they are not appropriate for the elderly telecare market. From a technology perspective: it is very difficult to get good quality microphone, speaker, chipset, screen, buttons, operating system and battery into anything of the right size and weight to be practical. There must be a compromise and my guess is battery-life. From a user's perspective: as Larushka says many elderly individuals suffer from sensory impairment making it difficult to operate. Have we considered that how something that size may fit on a wrist when wearing cuffs (on shirts, blouses, jackets)? or how a tough plastic strap may rub or irritate the thin skin on the wrist bones? Just because we have become fascinated by swipey-apps and wearables it doesn't mean they are appropriate for all sectors. Remember; there's no point counting steps when someone has fallen to the floor!