This year's Comdex was, like most, full of standard desktop PCs and servers, but one novel device to catch attendees' eyes was a prototype cellphone wristwatch with speech recognition software.
The offering, on display at both the Samsung and Conversa booths, weighed in at less than 1.3 ounces, was 0.8 inches tall and measured 2.7 inches by 2.3 inches in diameter. It has a battery life of 90 minute for continuous call time and provides 60 hours of standby time.
The device, which is the first fruit of the recently announced strategic licensing agreement between Samsung and Conversa, saw Conversa supplying the speech recognition software and Samsung Electronics providing "everything else".
A Conversa spokesperson claimed that it was one of the first examples of a continuous speech, speaker independent smart cellphone wristwatch that could be operated by spoken commands.
The as yet unnamed "watchphone", which has no keypad, enables users to make and receive phone calls using their natural voice and speech patterns. Customers can programme in frequently used phone numbers by voice and the device is able to read out email messages.
The prototype also includes three menus - digital dial, phone book and set up tools. Users can scroll up and down the page, set the clock and calendar, and send and cancel email.
Michael Adderley, an executive with Samsung's Wireless Terminals division, said the wristwatch would be available in the US through Sprint PCS by the second half of 2000, although no pricing has yet been determined. Cellular and GMS versions are scheduled to follow in the first and second quarter of 2001.
Adderley added that Samsung expects this product to become the future of the wireless market and that voice driven transactions will, in future, be undertaken using such handsets.
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