Orange ‘watch phone’ to hit the UK in August

Orange have today announced plans to launch the world’s first touchscreen ‘watch phone’ in the UK this August. Made by LG, it’s a phone (obviously), a watch (again, I shouldn’t have to mention that), and touchscreen. But what else can it do?

It’ll be available on pay as you go, and comes with a bluetooth headset, built-in speaker, 3G and video calling. And that’s all we appear to know right now.

“Pay as you go only”, you may gasp, “why?”

Well here’s my thinking. What perfect way to sell you a gizmo you’ll probably get bored of using within a few weeks, and notch up another SIM ‘subscriber’. Imagine being tied in to a 36 month contract on a watch? I couldn’t either really. It’ll also go down well with the kids – who, unless they have crazy parents with deep pockets, are usually on pay as you go these days.

The device will be available, according to Orange, ‘for a limited time period’ (there’s a pun in there somewhere), and is the first of at least three new ‘market leading’ devices they’re planning to announce before the end of the year.

Over to Tom Alexander, CEO of Orange UK, for the obligatory soundbite: “The Watch Phone is the must-have gadget of 2009. It’s handcrafted, exclusively limited, and will turn heads on the high street. Our ambition is to become the best loved communications brand in the UK, and the destination brand of choice for high-end mobile users in the market. To help us achieve this, we have secured some of the most original and innovative devices available.

“The Watch Phone is the first of these devices, all focused on bringing a 21st-century experience to our 21st century customers. Over time we also intend to match the power of these devices with bespoke multimedia packages, driving even more inspirational conversations and deeper connections for our customers.”

The last time we spoke on this very blog about mobile phones meeting watches was back in 2007 when Sony Ericsson and Fossil launched a Bluetooth watch. Seen many on the street? No nor have I – and to be honest you’d get some very funny looks talking into your wrist.

So how will the Orange/LG watch phone fair? Only time will tell. And on that note, I’ll leave you to watch the lovely demo video courtesy of Orange.

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