One of the coolest gadgets at CES 2009 is coming to London next week. LG's watch phone looks like something straight out of James Bond or Dick Tracey. With a touch screen and video call capabilities this little accessory is a must have for any super spy, gum shoe, or tech enthusiast. It's available exclusively at the Orange store at the Bond Street Station in Central London on a first come first serve basis August 27th. With a price tag of just a bazillion £500, I wonder how many Brits will jump on the chance to be the first to own the coolest phone in history. See Orange's demo video below.
Each of these watches is a hand-made 3G+ work of art. Looking at the video, I am floored by what the little device can do. It can tell time, make calls, send texts, make video calls, or play music. All at qualities equal to or exceeding competitive phones on the market. The main interface is a 1.43 inch (diagonal) touchscreen with voice activation and text to speech capabilities. There's a camera, but it faces directly up for video conferencing, so it's unclear if it could be used easily for other functions. Besides web browsing though, the watch phone seems to have it all.
But who cares, really? People aren't going to buy it for the functionality. At £ 500, I doubt the customer is the sort of person who will use the watch as their only mobile phone. No, this device is a high tech status symbol to mark out those who have the money, tech savvy, and geekly confidence to wear the watch of a badass gadgeteer.
Orange, a UK division of France Telecomm Group, plans on releasing several more "future phones" this year. They may have to replace the floors at their store after all the nerd stampedes. In the short term, it will be interesting to see if these future phones can break the dominance that smart phones like the blackberry and iPhone have on public perception.
Looking ahead further, concept devices like the LG watch phone show just how easily technology is adapting to every aspect of our lives. The lines between the digital and physical worlds are blurring, and it may not be long before every physical object has a digital presence and every digital concept has a physical location associated with it. The future is full of possibilities even cooler than a watch phone. Hard to believe, I know.