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For sale: A cell phone wristwatch

By Jeordan Legon
CNN

The Wristomo has an optional cable that allows it to exchange data with a computer.
The Wristomo has an optional cable that allows it to exchange data with a computer.

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(CNN) -- Visions of the comic strip detective Dick Tracy talking into his wristwatch phone have titillated imaginations for decades. But now, Japanese phone giant NTT DoCoMo is selling the real thing.

The 3.9-ounce Wristomo silver-bodied watch-phone looks like a thick digital watch. The matching thick padded strap unclips from the wrist when two buttons are pressed. Then the gadget can be held to the face and used as a traditional cell phone -- the earphone on one end of the strap and the microphone at the other.

The waterproof watch, which sells for $318, proved so popular when it was offered for sale May 7 on the company's Web site, DoCoMo reported that it had sold the first batch of 1,000 in less than 20 minutes.

It's still too early to tell whether the device will be a novelty item or a true hit with a broad range of consumers. But the company is planning to try out more sales to Japanese buyers and, if those prove successful, DoCoMo may distribute the product more widely.

Questions remain over whether the Wristomo will be widely distributed.
Questions remain over whether the Wristomo will be widely distributed.

Made by Seiko instruments, the watch's LCD display can access Internet content and e-mail.

Its use of Japan's older PHS (Personal Handyphone System) Network allows the phone to conserve battery power. The device offers about 120 minutes of talk time and 200 hours of standby time, the company said.

Not wanting to be left behind, Samsung Electronics showed off a nonworking prototype of a watch-phone at this year's CeBIT trade show in Hanover, Germany. The company said it would offer the wristwatch phones in Europe in the fourth quarter of 2003.

And Motorola also said it has plans to build wristwatch phones. At the same time, the company announced it wants to build phones into glasses, digital cameras and pens.


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