Wrist phone race


By Barry Fox Two companies are simultaneously patenting almost identical designs for a wristwatch telephone. On 29 July 1996 Japanese company Nihon Velbon Seiki of Tokyo filed a patent (WO 98/5148) for a watch phone with 12 buttons round the edge of the analogue face, numbered 1 to 0, plus * and # buttons. And on 31 July 1996, Motorola of the US filed a patent (GB 2 315 709) for a watch which also has 12 buttons around its analogue face. Although NVS filed two days earlier, Motorola’s design goes a step further: when a number is dialled, the minute hand of the watch briefly turns to point at the pressed button, confirming which number has been entered,
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