The WIMM One was a pioneer in smartwatch functionality and accessibility.
Prior to 2012, WIMM Labs was a small electronics company specialising in Android-based platforms that could be used with a wearable display. In 2011 they introduced one of the very first smartwatches: the WIMM One. Then, they closed in 2012.
In August 2013 WIMM was acquired by Google, who used their tech to develop wearable of their own. Welcome the WIMM One.
The WIMM One Smartwatch
The WIMM One smartwatch is no longer available for purchase, but used Bluetooth technology to connect to the wearer’s smartphone. Using an Android based platform, it displayed notifications that the connected phone was receiving.
How does the WIMM One Smartwatch look?
As far as design goes, there is not much that stands out about the WIMM One. It is a basic black rubber wrist strap holding the square faced computer device in place. The 1.26in x 1.4in face is only 0.49 inches thick, and pops out of the watchband to be used anywhere. The idea was to have a wearable Android device that was versatile, allowing it to be worn as a watch, on your belt or even a bicycle strap.
The watch was equipped with a touchscreen, and had one control button on its right. The screen was multifunctional and was designed to be readable indoors or at night by using a backlit colour LCD, or in direct sunlight with monochrome LCD. One of the downfalls of the WIMM One was that it was not water resistant, and would likely be ruined if accidentally worn in the shower.
From its uninspiring design, it is easy to see why the WIMM One was meant to be a prototype for a wearable Android device, and an inspiration for technical developers to begin working on other applications to work with it. Since the company was quickly bought after its release, it is Google’s devices which are benefitting from the technology.
The watch ran on a rechargeable battery which needed to be charged daily, especially when the user was using the watch features through Bluetooth or WiFi. The watch came with a charging stand that allowed you to charge the battery without having to take the face out from the band.
Technological features of the WIMM One
The WIMM One worked as soon as it was taken out of the box, both with a smartphone or a wireless network. It featured both WiFi and Bluetooth, and had apps already installed that let the watch work as a pedometer, calendar, and world clock with alarm and timer. It was also able to give weather updates.
When connected with a compatible smartphone, incoming calls and text messages were displayed on the watch face, alerting the wearer with a small vibration. Text messages could be read or dismissed until later, while an incoming call showed you the same information as your mobile phone screen e.g. either the phone number or a contact’s name.
For full functionality, users had to create an account through WIMM and register the device in order to download any additional apps. They could change the order of the apps and how they appeared on the watch. The watch face could be personalised as well, with a number of different options to choose from, including one that showed the time as the periodic table for the scientifically inclined.
When first released, the WIMM One retailed for USD$199. Unfortunately, once the company was taken over by Google, this smartwatch was no longer available for purchase. Google has gone on to use the innovative technology to develop their own brand of wearable tech.