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  • What's new in my pocket computers pages?

    Friday, October 15th : Ricoh RDC i-700 received
    Device securised this morning! No page for it yet; will be one some day.

    Wednesday, September 15th : Sharp MI-10 added
    Created a page for the Sharp MI-10 i've received.

    Friday, July 23rd : new homepage, new machines listed
    My collection reached 49 units yesterday as i've received 2 new watches. Added them to the list (no pages yet) and changed the homepage to a weblog format.

    This feature will soon be available

    Casio WMP-1 Wrist Audio Player
    MP3-player Watch
    I'm sorry, but I will not reply to user manual requests or to dealer location inquiries anymore.

    Please read my FAQ page that might help you if you have any of these questions in mind.
    Feel free to contact me for any other question or comment regarding this machine!

    Special features :
    - It's the first wristwatch mp3 player
    - and sound-quality wise, it's good player too
    - built-in rechargeable battery; decent time-keeping and playback time
    - integrated 32 MB MMC

    Weak points :
    - size-wise, it's not really usuable as an everyday watch! It's really huge. - Apparently not WinXP-compatible
    - seems like the built-in MMC cannot be upgraded?

    Related machines in my collection :
    Casio first-timer watch :
    Casio WQV-1 digital camera watch

    I've hesitated for a long time before deciding whether i should buy this one for my collection or not. It's not really a PDA not an organiser, and it does not even offer the basic "Databank" features that was once the essence of electronic diaries and high-tech watches.
    But there are several reasons why this device has earned it's right to enter my collection! It's the first wristwatch MP3 player, and "being the first electronic stuff" of it's kind is good start. Next, it has a 32 MB memory. Sounds light to 2004 eyes for a MP3 player, but at the time (and now that i think of it, i don't remember this watches release year... It's contemporary to the WQV-1 wrist camera watch), it was a HUGE memory for a wristwatch.
    Then, the device can be seen as a "data browser", considering data are audio data and not alphanumeric data like regular databank usually store. And the data are acquired via PC connection, too.
    One weird -yet important- point is also the fact that the device is primarly marketted as a *watch* with added MP3 functions. Would it be designed as a regular MP3 player offering time display and a stop watch, then i'd have had no interest in it in the first place!
    Let's say i somewhat find the concept of "wearable" computing interesting, and i'm quite comfortable with the idea that a watch already represent an accepted piece of wearable computing power that holds potential.
    This is what makes this device interesting to me : it's a new way of exploring the potential of the everyday watch. Casio is good at that game!

    Anyway, the "everyday watch" description doesn't fit this particular item. It is actually a huge wristwatch, and it's very unlikely you'd wear it all day long just as any other watch. However, using it on special occasions, as a wearable MP3 player would better fit the machine's style. I'm thinking of sport, mostly; like running or working out...
    Depending on the activity, holding the MP3 player on the wrist rather than attached to a belt makes more sense. The particular WMP-1 model (namely the "WMP-1V-8JR") also seems dedicated to outdoor activities, as it's rugged velcro brace suggests.

    Processor : ?? OS : Proprietary firmware
    RAM : 32MB ROM : ??
    Graphic display : graphic area of 8x8 pixels Text display : bar digits display
    Display : Dedicated B&W LCD layout Input : 6 buttons

    Built-in Applications :
    Watch w/ date, Stop-Watch, MP3 player with preset graphic equalizer and various playback modes.
    Open to other applications : No
    Ports :
    - One 6 pins serial interface to connect to the USB Cradle,
    - one 3 pins analog connector to plug the earphone adaptor
    Now, the major drawbacks are due to the device's age... Even if it is still very usable as a (pretty good) MP3 player; this watch now has to face lots of competitors. It is then harder to forgive such details as the awkward way of connecting the earphones (there's a supplied adaptor that adds to the watch' overall size and that shall be removed when placing the watch on the connection cradle), or the fact that the built-in MMC cannot be replaced to increase storage capacity (but i have not checked that part in details, as i've not openned the back panel of the watch yet).
    A very deceiving part is that the manual only claims compatibility to Windows 98. Compatibilities issues affect the software that's used together with the supplied USB cradle to upload MP3 files to the watch. And from what i've test, that's almost true. I've not been able to test it under 98, but the bad part is that it is actually not compatible with XP as far i've been able to test (just one PC!). It will run under 2000 tho, but i do feel XP compatibility would make more sense as the natural evolution to 98 compatibility.

    The watch also reveals lots of good surprises, tho. The built-in rechargeable battery is one of these, and it comes with a decent running time, too. Then there's the graphic equalizer, which provides a fixed set of nicely balanced EQ settings...
    A fun feature is the possibility of building small sequences of animated 8x8 pixels characters to assign to uploaded MP3 files. These animations will play while the matching files are playing. Pretty useless, but still quite fun and satisfying!

    The final word : as a collectible item, i'm happy to own the first wrist watch MP3 player. As a usable item, there are now newer (and smaller) MP3 player wristwatches around. This Casio does not compete, i think. It is actually a little surprising that Casio did not follow it's own lead by providing better evolved version of this first-born product... I guess this is because this product did not live up to Casio's hopes in term of success, so maybe they've just decided to stop developping this kind of product. However, i'd say that newer technologies in a G-Shock casing at an "affordable" pricetag could make for a modern wristwatch MP3 player with an attitude, as opposed to pretty dull MP3 player watches i've seen from other companies (and sorry i have no links to add here..)