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9/28/2006
12:48 PM
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Who's Calling? Just Check Your Watch

A Bluetooth-enabled cell phone accessory puts caller ID on a wristwatch.

Watch designer Fossil and handset maker Sony Ericsson unveiled Thursday a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone accessory called Caller ID wristwatch.

After syncing their cell phones with their wristwatches, users will feel a slight vibration and see incoming caller ID information on the watch face.

"The caller's phone number shows up on the watch," said Shannon Gotthelf, a spokeswoman for Fossil. "When users are unable to answer their phone, the call can be muted or sent to voice mail by pressing a button."

The watch also deals with text messages. Users are alerted by an envelope icon that they have received a message.

The Bluetooth watches also have a feature to keep consumers from misplacing their cell phones, an everyday annoyance for many cell phone owners. When users' watches and cell phones are separated by 10 meters the watches vibrate slightly to alert the users that they are moving away from their phones.

"Watches are the perfect 'glanceable' display," said Bill Geiser, vice president of technology for Fossil, according to a press rlease. "They are simple to use, fashionable, and well accepted. Our goal for the Bluetooth watch was to create a product that enhances the lifestyle of the wearer without compromising style or usability."

Although Thursday's announcement cited Sony Ericsson, the watches will likely work with some selected handsets from other cell phone providers, Fossil indicated. The firm has a long history of developing advanced technology features for consumer electronic devices including wristwatches and PDAs.

The Bluetooth watches are available in Fossil's Caller ID in the U.S. at an MSRP $250. ABACUS-branded phones will be available in the U.K., Germany, and the U.S. In the U.S., the ABACUS watches are priced at an MSRP of $200.

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