Chinese launch wristphone
Well, more a phone-on-your-wrist, actually
The excitement about the new CEC Chinese wrist-phone seems to be based on the idea that it's a 'first' which, of course, it isn't. The IXI-Mobile design which Seiko announced earlier this year was not only first, but rather smarter.
All of the known wristphones post a similar problem, however: "How do you use that thing?" Cartoon character Inspector Gadget has no trouble: he pulls the antenna out of his thumb, extends the microphone from his little finger, and talks...
For the rest of us, it's rather trickier.
There are three solutions. There's the Seiko, which uses the wrist module as an alert and as a display, and provides simple control for accepting and terminating calls. A Bluetooth headset deals with the audio, and a belt-mounted personal mobile gateway does the GSM wireless work.
The other famous wrist-watch phone is the Japanese model, the Wristomo, was announced by NTT DoCoMo in March this year. To talk on that one, you take it off, opening up the wrist-clip to make it look like a reasonably neat phone. The buttons on the inside of the band are, presumably, a minor discomfort for the tough-guy nerds who wear it.
That uses the PHS (Personal Handyphone System) communications standard, which is used only in Japan.
The Chinese announcement won't be seen in Europe; it's designed to work on the CDMA standard, found mostly in North America.
To find out exactly how it is supposed to work, we will have to wait until we have a chance to play with it but the description given by CNet in Asia was puzzling:
"A wired earpiece is worn on the finger like a ring. To listen to the call, the ring is held up to the ear. However, a more conventional wireless infrared earphone or wired earpiece is also available." More pictures (on a Chinese languageweb site
) make it clear that it looks even worse than it sounds.
As if there weren't enough to fiddle with on this thing, it apparently includes a camera too.
Back to Inspector Gadget. These things will never work. And at over $1000 in price, will anybody except gadget-mad Japanese nerds ever want to try? ®
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