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Android-based wearable device platform targets 1.4-inch screen

Aug 2, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

WIMM Labs announced an Android-based wearable device reference platform and open SDK designed for applications including sports and health monitoring wristwatches. The tiny WIMM One Module features a 1.4-inch capacitive touchscreen, up to 32GB memory, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and motion tracking capability, and will be made available with a WIMM One Developer Preview Kit in the third quarter.

While Google and its Android partners have been working hard over the last few years to bring Android to larger displays, WIMM Labs is thinking small — 1.4 inches, to be exact. The WIMM One UI layer aims to condense information and input to the simplest level, "integrating information into your daily life in the form of useful, subtle glances," according to WIMM Labs.

WIMM One Module in SBC and fully-housed versions

(Click on either to enlarge)

Tipped with minimal details on May 31 as part of WIMM Labs' announcement of a second round of financing from Hon Hai Precision Industries, the WIMM One Wearable Platform has now been more fully revealed.

The platform combines a WIMM One Module hardware reference device with an Android-based, "open" software developer kit (SDK). The latter is currently available to selected developers as a WIMM One Developer Preview Kit, and will be made publicly available this fall, says Los Altos, Calif.-based WIMM Labs.

USB drive and
Wristwatch WIMM concept designs
(Click on either to enlarge)

The reference platform is designed for a variety of wearable devices with tiny screens. Examples are said to include sports watches, business command and control devices, payment automation devices, and health monitoring gadgets. Other possibilities are said to include a universal remote, and even a smart touchscreen embedded into a wallet.

Measuring 1.27 x 1.13 x 0.44 inches (36 x 32 x 12.5mm) and weighing 0.77 ounces (22 grams), the WIMM One Module appears to be available either as a tiny single board computer or a fully housed device (see images above). No processor is listed, but the device offers a 1.4-inch capacitive "bi-modal" touchscreen, and up to 32GB flash memory, says WIMM Labs.

Communications are handled via Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, complete with Bluetooth pairing. There is also 14-pin "WIMM connector," said to be smart-accessory ready.

The water-resistant device is further equipped with audible and tactile alerts, says WIMM Labs. An accelerometer and magnetometer are together said to enable motion tracking and gesture control. No details were offered on battery power.

Two more WIMM device concepts

The module will ship pre-loaded with a library of custom watch faces as well as a stable of core, customizable "Android Micro Apps," says the company. These are said to include Caller ID, SMS preview, lost phone warning, calendar, weather, and world clock apps.

The user interface seems to be focused on activity feeds, alerts, and other Chumby-like "push" applications that require minimal and simple interaction from users. The video farther below defines the UI as a series of "glances and swipes."

WIMM One sample calendar and weather apps

(Click on either to enlarge)

The device is said to "work seamlessly with Android, Blackberry and iOS devices," although the extent of these interactions are not detailed. Applications are controlled via a web-based management app that lets users configure the device and add applications via any desktop or mobile device browser.

In addition to providing the SDK, WIMM Labs plans to launch a Micro Apps store for selling apps. Web-based branding is also said to be available.

Stated Gligor Dacevski of CreationPal, developer of the SportyPal fitness apps, "Because the WIMM device is always on and always attached to the body, our fitness app on the WIMM Platform helps athletes in the gym or on the field, giving them immediate guidance and feedback on their workout."

Stated William Stofega at IDC, speaking of WIMM Labs, "With a strong development and manufacturing partner, a ready-to-go Micro App store, and having key developers on-board early, they are poised to capitalize on where their predecessors have tripped up in the past."

WIMM One promotional video on YouTube

Source: WIMM Labs (Click to play)


Update: WIMM Labs subsequently was acquired by Google in 2012, with its team and technology being integrated into Google’s Nexus smartwatch development program.

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