Watches have been a vital accessory for so long that many people still wear one out of habit rather than actual necessity. They’ve become ever so slightly obsolete because time is now available on mobile phones. Of course there is the certain type of old school individual who will eschew the phone and rather be tracked down at the country club, but that generation is on its way out anyway.
So when phone manufacturers announce watches that double up as phones, or phones that closely resemble wristwatches, mostly the reaction is one of deep puzzlement. There isn’t much excitement, as the concept isn’t radically new, but the question seems to be ‘Why?’.
Phones.com reported that the renowned Swiss watchmaker Ulysee Nardin released a unique phone named Chairman phone all the way back in March. The phone was solar powered, had quite a few fiddly watch mechanisms built into it, but most importantly, it was prohibitively expensive. Of course, that particular pricing strategy was due to the phone being a limited edition. Still, it was not something that one bound to their wrist.
Kempler & Strauss has just released a phone watch, one which is practically undistinguishable from an actual watch. The device has a touch screen, which switches from a watch dial to a numeric keypad evidently to be able to dial. Mockery aside, the gadget is fairly cool with a microSD slot, GSM quad-band and even Bluetooth functionality. The package contains a Bluetooth headset thankfully, so the user avoids looking silly as a wire trails from their headphones to their wrist. All this is available for $199.
Then of course there is the LG GD910: the ultimate style statement in phone watches. To get the bad news out of the way first, the LG phone watch is retailing in the range of $1250 per piece. Yes, it’s a beautiful masterpiece, with a sleek design and glossy finishes, but $1250? Doubtful.
The good news is the specifications, and what seems to be an iPhone-esque transitional effect between various screens. It also shockingly manages to pack a camera into the minute size, and there is a Bluetooth wireless headset. There is a microphone and speaker built into the watch body but until phone watches become mainstream, users will just look silly talking to their wristwatches. The amazing feature of this phone is that it has the capability of storing contacts, sending messages and playing music. It is a little unclear how the phone watch will be charged but hopefully for the whopping price there should be something pretty cool to accomplish the job.
There was a Neutrano wrist phone scheduled for release called Neutec, but the phone watch sank into relative oblivion. There was no Bluetooth headset packed in with the device, which was probably instrumental in its unsung demise. Imagine receiving a call, answering it, and holding up one’s wrist to ear, with the fingers pointing outward. Not a pretty picture.
Although phone watches are evidently the next technological marvel to captivate everyone’s fancy, the true utility is debatable. It is at best a novelty item for the chronic techie, always looking for their next gizmo fix.