Is the watch phone form factor ideal?

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| June 1, 2011

Yesterday, a Motorola site redesign led to the leaking of several new devices from the company. First up was the tablet successor to the XOOM, referred to as the Zaha. There was also mention of phones named Slimline, Targa, and Pearl. But what is most intriguing of all is the mysterious Tracy XL.

An obvious play on super-sly detective, Dick Tracy, the Tracy XL is a sleek and rather sexy watch. Not only is it a watch, but it is also a phone. This isn't the first watch phone to come about, and it certainly isn't the last. Back in 2009, LG released a 3G watch phone. Other various models have been available in places around the globe for some time now. Most of you probably think the whole idea is crazy. Who would want to make calls through their watch?

While the concept may be too nerdy for some to swallow, there is obviously a market for something like this, however small it may be. Had LG's watch phone been more appropriately priced, it may have taken off. But the device itself ran for somewhere north of $1000 without a contract. I don't know a whole lot of people who are willing to pay a small fortune to run around making phone calls like Dick Tracy all day.

Aside from the price, the LG Watch Phone wasn't actually a bad device and was surprisingly functional. You wouldn't want to try to browse the Internet or sift through your email on it, but you can load it up with music, send text messages and more. On top of that, it doesn't look half bad either; it is a bit on the thick side though.

This form factor has been tried several times, even by manufacturers who don't make phones. One company by the name of Alltera made a Bluetooth watch accessory for BlackBerrys. The inPulse Smartwatch will pair with your phone to display emails, texts, sports scores and more. Although it took forever to come to market, it had a rather large following behind it and even caught my eye for a while.

Watch phones have been around for some time now and the form factor really hasn't gained a lot of attention. More than likely, that is due to the fact that they aren't overly functional, don't come with jaw dropping specs, and because you either have to hold your arm in the air to make a call or use a Bluetooth headset. However, the design in itself has quite a few advantages: no more leaving your phone behind, it doesn't take up pocket (or pocketbooks, ladies) space, great battery life (or so they say), and looking like a secret agent when you make a call.

Although I would prefer the Bluetooth attachment route, I'm glad Motorola is taking a stab at the watch phone concept. From what I can tell, the Tracy XL looks very nice. I could see myself wearing one and making calls from it ... pretending I'm Jack Bauer. But I've always been pretty open to new ideas. What do you nerds and nerdettes think? Would you buy the Motorola Tacy XL, given the price is right? Or did the watch phone concept die with Dick Tracy?

Image via Engadget