What was once reserved for 007 has now become reality. We’ve seen Android-based watches like the Sony Ericsson Live View, the I’m Color and the rumored Motorola Tracy XL. What we’re looking at today is the WIMM Wearable Platform, and it looks much more promising than the previous attempts for wrist computing.
The main difference is that this device intends to be more of a standalone product. Other Android watches seem to be way more dependent on a smartphone. For example, people have been complaining that the Sony Ericsson Live View can’t even give you the right time when it’s not connected to a device via bluetooth. No fun.
What Sony Ericsson did was very much a slave to an Android phone, to such an extent that I read reports that if you didn't have it paired with a phone, you couldn't even get the time on the thing!
The nice thing is that you could pair this with a phone via bluetooth, and there's a great product opportunity there…but if you're in the runner's watch category, for example, you don't want to force your users to run with their phone, so for cases like that, WIMM can be a standalone, autonomous GPS device that syncs up to your home network when you get back from your run.Dave MooringWIMM Labs CEO
WIMM Labs’ plan is to create the “first screen.” The other screens consist of the TV, computer, phone and tablet. There seems to be a process in the way we interact with our “screens.” For example, I personally do not read long articles or watch movies on a smartphone unless I need to; a tablet or PC would let me accomplish these tasks much more comfortably. On the other hand, a smartphone would be better for other uses. Oddly enough, many of us do not use watches anymore, but rely heavily on our smartphones to see the time. This is where the idea of the “first screen” is born: A device that can do smaller tasks than a smartphone in a faster manner.
This smart watch will be packed with what WIMM Labs calls “Micro Apps.” These are exactly what they sound like–smaller apps with simple but quick processes that shouldn’t require you to pull out your phone. As Mooring mentioned, these Micro Apps are meant to make this an autonomous product. It also features all the connectivity a smartphone has. (WiFi, bluetooth 2.1+EDR, accelerometer, magnetometer, vibrator, speaker, and up to 32GB of microSD memory).
If you’d would like to pair the device with a smartphone, it is possible. You could download an app that controls sync between the devices, allowing you to run certain processes on the phone by triggering them with the WIMM or transfer RSS feeds and other processes. But the intention is that the link does not necessarily have to be created. This smart watch can be linked with any bluetooth smartphone, but it is optimized for the Android platform.
Let’s get to the looks and hardware. The WIMM measures 1 inch, both vertically and horizontally (160×160 pixel resolution). Packed with a 667 MHz processor, it may not have the power we expect from a smartphone. Such processing power would be overkill for a device of this nature. And as mentioned above, this device also comes with all the connectivity you can expect.
One of the most exciting features is (surprisingly) the display. This is no Super AMOLED screen, but it does have a very unique characteristic. The transflective TFT display allows the device to have two viewing modes. When the device’s apps are not in use, it appears to be a regular digital watch. This allows for longer battery life, while serving its basic purpose. To get your geek on, the backlight switches on (transmissive mode) and the watch will becomes “active.” Take a look at the image below to see the difference between modes.
There are currently two known versions. The one on the left is a sports-centered waterproof model. The one on the right is made of ceramic and has a much more elegant look. These will not be the only versions of WIMM we’ll be seeing, though. What WIMM Labs has done is quite fun and might make this a very popular device. WIMM Labs is not directly manufacturing these. Or, at least, they won’t be doing it alone.
This product is available for other companies to use if they would like to modify the looks. They’d simply get the guts and software from WIMM Labs (manufactured by Foxconn). As you may imagine, the possibilities of this smart watch are infinite under such circumstances. The company is said to be discussing deals with multiple watch makers, fashion companies and sporting goods manufacturers. Take a look below to see some examples of what could be done with the WIMM.
For brands that have to adopt technology and know they do, but can't afford the R&D to get into the business, we provide the parts that are too costly. It's sort of a shared R&D model.Dave MooringWIMM Labs CEO
Exciting product, isn’t it? We don’t yet know when this bad boy will be showing up at stores (or the price), but the developer kit and SDK will be available sometime during Q3 2011. This should mean the product is coming by Q4 at the latest. (We hope so). Anyone interested in this? What do you think would be a fair price?