December 26, 2007
by Ariel Adams
It has been done before, but with no particular success. The phone in the watch. It makes sense from an ergonomics and functional standpoint, but is the world really ready for what might be even sillier looking than people who wear their Bluetooth headsets even while not on the phone? While it is not clear what the final production watches will look like, there is no doubt that Tag Heuer is going to release watches with mobile phones built in.
The pictures above are meant to serve as realistic ideas of what the Tag Heuer phone is going to look like. The watch bracelet and case are taken from Tag’s Link line of watches. A very comfortable and respectably watch by most standards even though they are so mainstream. The meat of this this phone is in the face which has a number of pushers on the side. Close inspection of the face reveal indicators around the bezel that suggest a touch screen. This has been implemented before well on the Tissot T-Touch line of watches.
While the watch apparently has a microphone and speaker built it, it will rely on the user talking via a wireless Bluetooth headset. No news on whether one will be sold with the phone or separately, nor whether Tag Heuer is also designing a Bluetooth headset. The real selling point of this watch will be whether data entry and retrieval will be simple enough. Without lots of input options, it could be a real pain just trying to dial someone’s phone number. There is a possibility that the Tag Heuer phone will connect via Bluetooth to other phones for data or a computer to enter and retrieve information. The real functionality of the phone has yet to be seen. Further, battery life is guaranteed to be an issue in a device so small.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the face of the watch breaks no new ground. The screen appears to be an OLED (organic light emitting diode) screen, which utilizes its own light generation (based on the photo luminescent organic compounds) to save battery power. Everything will be small on the watch face, but that is given considering the surface area. It would have been smart for Tag Heuer, or any other maker of watch phones, to utilize the surface area of the watch bracelet/band for data input (placing buttons there). Other than the setting pushers around the face, the watch fucntional areas are “Time, MP3, Alarm, and Phone.” You can be assured that the Tag Heuer phone will accomplish each of these tasks in at least a mediocre fashion.
One can easily gather that this is a first generation of phone watches from large watch makers such as Tag Heuer. Here you basically find a phone jammed into a watch. In the future, one can anticipate phones taking the looks of watches, while retaining their expected level of functionality and reliability, until then the world has these toys to play with.
The skepticism regarding the usefulness of such watches stems from the history of failure when companies have tried to combine too much into a watch. The Microsoft SPOT watches are a good example of this. Using radio signals, the watch provided updated information based on a monthly subscription service. It was a more or less failure, but the SPOT service is now being successfully implemented into automotive GPS systems.
Time will tell how well Tag Heuer is able to execute the functionality of a phone and MP3 player into the convenience and comfort of a watch.
See Tag Heuer watches on eBay here.See Tag Heuer watches on Amazon here.