The Mobile Phone Wrist: Samsung’s Oblique Smartwatch 1999

The year 1999: The iPhone is still eight years away, humanity Fears the Millennium bug, televised the last seasons of deep space nine and the X-files run, Futurama is beginning to create strange and notalways improbable future scenarios. And Samsung throws a Smartwatch into the market, 16 years before the Apple Watch. Apologies, actually only Pierce Brosnan as Thomas Crown was smart – rather, the SPH-WP10 is a mobile phone for your wrist!
Nothing comes from nothing, everything was already there and history repeats itself – so it is little wonder, then, that long before Apple Watch and Android wear precursor of today’s Smartwatches as acool future concepts through the fantasies of tech and media makers was abuzz. We think of course of Michael Knight and Star Trek, but also on the calculator wristwatch from the 8oern. It was 15 yearsago but also still much more concrete as Samsung’s SPH-WP10 proves to us.
The 1999 featured gadget was not only a futuristic blend of wristwatch and mobile – Yes, mobile phones were called so at that time –,but also ultra compact and light as a feather: the plastic WP10 weighed 50 grams. The 2 Zentimeter(!) thick enclosure housed a battery,which allowed telephony times of 90 minutes and remarkable 60 hours should bring it to standby.

Much more than phone calls the inclined early adopter anno 1999 then but couldn’t with the WP10 also. Finally put the mobile Internetas well as the display technology was still in its infancy. After all, contacts could can call the Watchphone by voice activation – which wasnot only a cool, but also an important feature, because navigation through the menus of the WP10 if the missing keyboard not so correctly intuitive went out of hand.

Samsung saw the benefits of the gadgets at that time especially in the new mobility, which should offer their users the WP10 and the market especially with ‘Youth’. So it is said in the press release aboutthe product announcement: “worn on the wrist the SPH-WP10 offersexceptional portability and is less at the same time probably lost orstolen than conventional mobile phones. In addition, it impedes users not in the practice of sports, fishing, hiking or other outdoor activities. Samsung officials assume that the new watch phone, particularly in the youth market will be a great success.”
This optimistic forecast has not come true unfortunately, as we nowknow – what may have been because that was a little ahead of Samsung with the WP10 of his time, or but the estimated $700 MSRP too big were simply a house number for the sports-minded youth of the year 1999.