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LG's Dick Tracy Watch Phone

I'm not sure it's practical, but it sure is fun -- the LG Touch Watch Phone that brings Chester Gould's vision of the Dick Tracy 2-Way Wrist Radio to life.

At CES, LG demoed a working prototype of the Watch Phone at its press conference, and had more models under glass in its booth, in a variety of colors. The watch is actually not so big (a little more than a 1/2 inch thick, and 3 ounces) -- today's watches for men are substantial fashion statements anyway -- although I'm not sure of the market for the version in pink...

The Watch Phone starts as a digital watch, with a 1.4" display. But it's also a speaker phone -- lift your arm closer to your mouth and gab away, or use a wireless Bluetooth headset to talk in a less ostentatious manner. It supports voice dialing, and text to speech to read text messages.

And it's a MP3 player, so you can play music from the speaker or through your headset. Plus, there's a tiny camera hidden in a corner of the face, so you can use it as for video phone calls, and to take photos. And it's an organizer, with phonebook and scheduler.

There's not much detail on the interface. At the booth, it was described as having three dedicated phone buttons (Send, End, Clear), so you use the touch screen for other functions -- dialing with an on-screen keypad and adjusting volume with an on-screen slider. The middle button also acts as a scroll wheel.

The initial product will be released in Europe in the second half of 2009, as a GSM quad-band "global phone" with HSDPA for high-speed data and video. No news on price or carrier or release in the U.S.

See Engadget hands-on video

See my Mobile Communications Gallery for more on smartphones.

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This entry posted on January 13, 2009.

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