Wimm Labs, creator of the innovative Wimm One smart watch, has a dream of pushing the boundaries of mobile computing by giving birth to an entire software platform. And the company sees the $199 Wimm One as a device both powerful and flexible enough to do so. Like the Sony SmartWatch and Motorola MotoActv, the gadget runs its own flavor of Android while connecting to smartphones over Bluetooth and wireless networks through Wi-Fi, and operating independently like a tiny, cute, cuddly electronic brain. But unlike those competitors, the Wimm One doesn't fit firmly into the typical consumer electronics mold. Wimm Labs wants the Wimm One to be not just a mere widget but rather a development tool ushering in a vanguard of even more advanced devices. Appropriately, its unpolished looks and beta aesthetics will turn off average shoppers.
Let's be clear, the Wimm Labs Wimm One won't help you win any fashion kudos. The watch's jet-black rubber wrist strap and blocky accompanying cradle are no-frills to a fault. It has a pure utilitarian look that perhaps only NASA engineers, high-school math teachers, and software engineers could love.
Further heightening its straight-from-the-lab aesthetic is the Wimm One's modular construction. All its processing power, touch screen, sensors, and other components really reside in the Wimm One's austere square chassis. It's essentially a self-contained ultramobile computer powered by a custom version of Android software. Popping in and out of its strap with ease, the gadget is even referred to by Wimm Labs as the Wimm One module.
In fact, the company envisions the device as multifunctional, able to eventually fit into all kinds of accessories and attachments such as bicycle straps, lanyards, and belt loops. For now though these solutions exist as concepts only.
Measuring a relatively small 1.26 inches tall by 1.4 inches wide by 0.49 inch thick, the Wimm One takes up less space than the Motorola MotoActv (1.81 inches by 1.81 inches by 0.37 inch) but is slightly thicker. Apple's iPod Nano, though, is trimmer than both, even including its clip ((1.5 inches by 1.6 inches by 0.35 inch).
The only controls you'll find on the Wimm One are a tiny power button located on the module's right side and its miniscule 1.41 inch touch screen (1x1 inch). Thankfully the screen is bimodal, meaning it both functions as a backlit color LCD for indoor and nighttime use and converts into a traditional monochrome LCD so it can be read in direct sunlight.
Powered by an internal rechargeable battery, the Wimm One comes with a paddle-style charging cradle that connects to standard AC outlets. To top off the battery just fit the Wimm One onto the cradle so its metal contacts are aligned properly. You can do this whether the module is inside its wrist strap or not.
Wimm Labs says the Wimm One is splashproof; it isn't as tough as the Motorola MotoActv, though, which is built to withstand exposure to dust too, plus sports a crack-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass screen.
Features and software
It's no accident that the Wimm One screams prototype from 10 feet away, since that's what this device really is. Wimm Labs views the device as something in between a true consumer product and a hardware tool for developers. Akin to a Google Nexus-class smartphone in this way, the Wimm One is meant for technology enthusiasts to use to develop interesting and truly inspirational apps. Wimm Labs hopes this will supercharge adoption of what it sees as a burgeoning software platform.
Out of the box, the Wimm One is very capable in its own right. Inside the device are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios for connecting to wireless networks and smartphones. You'll also find preinstalled micro apps for pedometer, weather, calendar, world clock, timer, and alarm clock functions.