Did you know that Samsung announced a watch phone in 1999?

Did you know that Samsung announced a watch phone in 1999?
As we mentioned in a recent post – one where we traced back the history of smartwatches – bright minds have been trying to augment the functionality of our wrist-worn timepieces for decades. Their ideas paved the way for modern smartwatches like the Moto 360, the LG Watch Urbane, and, of course, the Apple Watch to materialize. However, the decade-long history of smartwatches has also seen quite a few failed attempts at delivering a decent high-tech watch to the masses. One such attempt was the Samsung SPH-WP10, which is considered to be the first, and still one of the very few, watch phones.

Inspired by wrist-worn communication devices seen in sci-fi flicks, Samsung announced the SPH-WP10 in 1999. At the time, this was the smallest and lightest "wireless terminal" ever produced, and its design truly reminisced of something pulled out of Star Trek. By today's smartwatch standards, however, Samsung's watch phone was neither light, nor thin – it weighed 50 grams (1.78 ounces) and had a thickness of 2 centimeters (0.78 inches), not to mention that an antenna was sticking out of its side.

What could it do? Well, the Samsung SPH-WP10 combined the functionality of an electronic watch with that of a cellular handset, although it didn't quite excel at being either. In a nutshell, it was a cell phone you could wear on your wrist and make calls on for up to 90 minutes – that's how long the battery could last for. The wearable had a back-lit, monochrome LCD display and physical buttons for navigating through menus. Also, one could dial a particular contact using voice commands. Dialing a number or inputting text, however, were frustrating tasks as the device lacked a proper keyboard.

Even though its maker had high hopes for drawing the youth market's attention, the Samsung SPH-WP10 didn't do well and didn't spawn any sequels. That was probably due to the gadget's odd looks and its frustrating controls, or simply because the whole watch phone concept was ahead of its time. Fortunately for Samsung, its wearables are now selling better than those by most of its competitors.




references: Samsung, Life is life (YouTube)

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23 Comments

1. Godfather

Posts: 68; Member since: Oct 31, 2012

I want this Phone/Watch gold dipped!!!!

2. javy108

Posts: 1004; Member since: Jul 27, 2014

Looking nice.

3. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

For those who say Samsung doesn't innovate... (Granted this was sixteen years ago, but even so.)

23. cheetah2k

Posts: 2213; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Grounds to sue Apple yet? :)

4. ushoda

Posts: 78; Member since: Aug 17, 2011

feel like a power ranger

5. mrej201

Posts: 226; Member since: Feb 04, 2015

yet apple fan be like Apple made it first. Oh wait

10. kevin91202

Posts: 642; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

What are you talking about? Apple did create the first smartwatch. Samsung obviously copied Apple in 1999.

6. darkkjedii

Posts: 30964; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Hell they shoulda released that, it actually looks pretty cool.

9. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

11. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

It was released, the title is misleading.

22. darkkjedii

Posts: 30964; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Cool phatch.

7. shiftt

Posts: 333; Member since: May 03, 2015

#SAMSUNG-Most-Innovative

8. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Samsung had a phone watch that looks like the original Gear.http://www.samsung.com/us/aboutsamsung/news/n​ewsIrRead.do?news_ctgry=irnewsrelease&news_seq=141​62 Samsung actually does inmnovate. APPLE should have been able to top all these and didnt. Lame

12. gaming64 unregistered

They placed a..... Bwahahaha,..... Phone antenna on the,,,,,,,,,,bwahhhahha

14. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

You do realize it was 16 years ago, right ?

17. SIGPRO

Posts: 2815; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

You must be really stupid! It was created in 1999.....some people are just dumb!

13. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Que horror!

15. mattkl

Posts: 255; Member since: Feb 01, 2010

No saphire screen? Pass

16. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

look like some future gadget coming from power rangers/ kamen rider movies.. its really cool @_@

18. deewinc

Posts: 455; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

I thought Apple invented swap-able straps on smart watches. Wait a minute, that is 1998?

19. ph00ny

Posts: 2025; Member since: May 26, 2011

Didnt they make two or three more of those prior to the first gear? And people thought samaung released gear because of apple watch rumors...

20. faijal.siddique

Posts: 3; Member since: Apr 07, 2015

Unbelievable... :o

21. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

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