Aug 02 AT 12:48 PM Edgar Cervantes 23 Comments

WIMM: the future of wrist computing with Android


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?

Via: Beta News

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

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    Im on the fence about this one.. I mean do I really see my self raising my left arm up into position to utilize it and then holding it there? I would have to take it off and hold it in my hand if I wanted to use it for more than 5 minutes. For that I might as well take my phone out. I guess if you go on a run you can pair a set of BT headphones and use it to listen to music but we already have multiple ways to do that..I only use watches to go out now for flashy purposes (coordinate with an outfit). I mean I guess it probably can become a trend , especially if the price is right. But mainly for status , as I cant really see it being to useful for tasking. Whats next Android belt buckles?

    • Edgar Cervantes

      I see this becoming more of a quick task kinda thing. Many times we get emails and texts that we do not even care about. With this guy, we can see who the message is from, or what it is about. If it is important enough, you pull out your phone/tablet and take a closer look. It could also be used to quickly check the weather, or to see if there is anything new on Twitter or Facebook, and if there is anything worth your attention, then you pull out your phone.

      Personally, I think I pull out my phone way too many times during the day. I would say that about half of the time it is for no good reason. Spam email, random stuff, etc. I kinda like the idea of one of these…

      • BiGMERF

        when you put it that way.. then i guess it can be useful.. but how heavy or out of control is your phone? I guess if you carry 5″ phone. I really do not mind pulling out my 4.3″. By the way If it is meant to use as an extension to your phone then it better be priced as such. Not as a stand alone device..

        • Edgar Cervantes

          I have a 4.3-inch device, but between work and personal emails, texts, and social networks (only messages directed at me), I get a notification at least once every 10 minutes…

          It is not the discomfort of the device itself (for me) that makes this a luring device. It is about the environment, and the time consumption that a tool like this can save. I don’t want to keep pulling out my phone when I am at a meeting, or in a conference, or driving, etc. Especially if it is about something that is not even important enough…

        • Edgar Cervantes

          I say the price should be kinda fair… I mean, the Live View is like 70 dollars. The I’m color is way over-priced, with the cheapest version at 360. This one looks to be way better than both of those, but it seems like there will be more options to it as well (from multiple brands). I say a fair price should be around 120-150… That could still be a bit high, but it will be a good balance. Not too over-priced like the I’m Color, and worth its price for being better than the live view…

          • BiGMERF

            Yes makes definite sense for someone like you that receives that many messages. You mentioned driving and someone else mentioned using it to look at texts in school.. Wonder how long it will take schools to ban them like they do cell phones and how long it will take lawmakers t ban you from looking at your wrist while driving… potential issues

      • Interpol91

        Totally agree. If I could save more of my phone’s battery life by not turning on the screen to check the time, skip to the next track, or any other small task then this product is worth it for me. It would be convenient and while in class I won’t make it obvious that I’m checking my messages.

      • G-Team

        So true, I pull my phone out a hundred times a day it feels and loads of that could have been served by a quick glance at a watch! I want one!

    • Druze

      Yes, you can use BT headphones, but you won’t get any data about your running and that can be very important to someone who is training on regular basis. I’m especially happy that my favorite running app – sportypal will be available for this watch. I’m buying this as soon as it comes on the market.

  • GRAW

    Awesome wrist watch, it’s true that it’s much better to have it’s own seperate capabilities without the need for a smartphone. If this where to come out at the right price, I’m sure many would cash in. I know I would!

  • Jess Blanchard

    It needs an app that makes it say, “Good Morning, Batman” when you turn it on.

    • BiGMERF

      In different languages. LOL

    • Edgar Cervantes

      LOL. Maybe you could convince Joseph to develop it!

  • sylar

    Well this would be cool but I’m not going to shell out the money for one.

  • Ryan

    Cost is a MAJOR problem with these items. As you pointed out the I’m color is horribly overpriced (but I think your asking price is still high. This should be sub $100, more like $75 (unless it comes with a few bands already). Honestly I would be interested in one that looked like the “waterproof” one (just black) but it wouldn’t need to be waterproof.

    I imagine these will have multiple price points depending on design/features.

    • G-Team

      I bet it will cost a shade under the price of a decent smartphone! Then the price will drop over the first year as more manufacturers get involved…

      • BiGMERF

        Or as they realize they cant sell then to the majority of consumers, like the Revue

  • AME

    This could be an awesome accessory for someone who has their house all decked out with [email protected] I would love to be able to change the thermostat or turn the lights on outside for the pizza man all without getting up by just touching my wristwatch.

    As long as it’s not over $100 and not totally fugly like the I’m Color, I’m sold. With some creative devs, this has tons of potential.

  • Josh Surber

    Sucks to a fair price: I want one that I can afford! This would be really fucking sweet, but since I can’t even afford a smartphone I doubt I could get one of these.

  • GiqueGEAR_Todd

    I insist that of all the predicted “conveniences of tomorrow” that the sci-fi writers of yesteryear conjured up … the smartphone is the only one that has exceeded the writers’ expectations. Meals by pill, flying cars, etc.. may all exist in some tiny, uber-expensive format, but, the smartphone (and more specifically, the Android smartphone) has emerged as the technological darling of the “future”. And, due to its open license nature, Android has also been key in the “democratization” of mobile computing.

  • impaler

    I’m excited about the prospect of the wrist being the next location for devices. I went and get a iPod nano because I knew I’d love wearing it on my wrist. As a watch, it’s not that great, but having 1GB of music with me at all times, is pretty sweet.

  • Flavius Saracut

    Apps like RunKeeper or other sports related would go really nice on a gadget like this.

  • Mama

    Just as with the I’m Color, can you answer a call with this watch or receive a SMS?
    Thank you