The second unqualified cool and useful gadget is the $199 Wimm One, an Android-based watch. At first blush, you might mistake it for an Apple iPad Nano in a watch strap and sporting a clock face -- a popular conversion for the Nano that Apple has encouraged by selling downloadable watch faces. But the Wimm One is much more than that.
If you know the "Dick Tracy" comic strips, you can guess where Wimm Labs is going with this concept: It's a watch (with, yes, a choice of faces and the option to buy more) that connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi and to your iPhone or Android smartphone via Bluetooth. It has a simple touch interface, and you can buy "micro apps" for the Wimm One, such as for viewing Twitter feeds, monitoring news, seeing the world weather, and providing a calculator -- there's even an app to control an Android device remotely.
The Wimm One itself comes with two handy capabilities that someone on the go will love, even if they don't use the other capabilities. One is its ability to connect to your Google Calendar or Microsoft Exchange calendar, so you can see what's on tap for your schedule.
The other is the Bluetooth integration with your smartphone. If you install the iOS or Android app on your smartphone and pair it with the Wimm One via Bluetooth, the watch buzzes when someone calls and displays the person's name on its face (if the person is in your address book) or the phone number (if not). You can't talk through the Wimm One, but you can see who's calling and decide whether to get your smartphone out of your pocket. If you don't want to talk to the caller, tap the Dismiss button on the Wimm One's screen to send the caller to voicemail -- no more fumbling for your smartphone only to find you don't want to answer the call.
I have to be clear that the Wimm One is essentially a beta product, sold for developers to create apps with. It's not as elegant as what a company like Apple would do with it, and there are issues that betray its beta status: The screen is not always responsive, and the battery life barely lasts through the day. (The device comes with a charger that uses a standard USB-to-MicroUSB cable.) Fortunately, when the battery runs low, the Wimm One disables access to its installed micro apps and to its color screen and light, leaving just the passive, monochrome LCD for the clock face. That passive LCD is quite good, and the time is very readable even in dim light at night. The included strap is a bit cheesy and bulky, but fortunately not blinged out.
The Wimm One is best suited for those who don't mind being on the cutting edge. It certainly gets attention in a crowd, thanks to its unusual cool factor. And it really is useful, in an addictive way.
This article, "Cool and useful gadgets for the savvy road warrior," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.