Several times over the last two years or more various cell phone manufacturers have announced “wrist-phones,” leading just about every journalist, myself included, to make inane Dick Tracy references. Finally, two of these phones appear headed to market; the DoCoMo Wristomo (pictured top left) and the Samsung wrist phone. The DoCoMo phone, which reportedly is already on shelves in Japan, has a unique design that folds around the wrist like a bracelet, but unfolds to allow the wearer use it like a regular phone. It has a full keypad, eight-line mono display, and has internet access. It operates on the PHS system in Japan, which is a short-range, low-power, and low(er) speed connection than GSM.
In contrast, the Samsung phone (pictured bottom right) is a GSM phone for use in Europe and other parts of the world with 800/1900 networks. It does not have a keyboard, though it does have a color Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) display — one of the first devices to make use of the low-power color alternative to TFT. The phone does not have a keypad, but supports voice dialing and Bluetooth, which means that it can be dialed from a PDA or BT headset. It has GPRS capability too, which means that other BT devices could use the phone to access the Internet at high speeds. While the preferred way to use the phone will probably be through headset, the phone reportedly includes a speaker-phone function, so no headset is needed. With a talk-time of just an hour and a half, and a standby time of “up to” 80 hours, the phone will definitely be a niche product. The Samsung will reportedly be available in Europe in Q3 2003. Both phone are expected to retail for about $1000.
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