- 20 Aug 09, 10:43 GMT
Whenever some shiny new plaything arrives on the scene, it's worth asking one question: is it a gadget or a gimmick?
And when a nice man from Orange turned up in my office earlier this week, I quickly decided that what he was carrying was little more than a gimmick - albeit an expensive one.
What he'd brought with him was described as "the world's first touchscreen watchphone".
It's made by LG and Orange has the exclusive deal to sell it in the UK on a pay-as-you-go deal for a mere £500.
You can make calls just by tapping on the watchface - I found it pretty awkward - but it comes with a Bluetooth headset which does at least make it easier to receive calls.
It's not really a smartphone - you can't, for instance, surf the web or navigate your way around town with it - but it does have video calling.
We tried it and I was reminded once again why this supposed "killer app" of 3G communications never took off.
You don't really want to stare at the person you're calling, unless you're sitting down at the computer for a long chat with someone far away.
Of course the video calling helps the watchphone achieve what must be its primary aim - to make the wearer feel like a rather retro action hero from a spy movie. James Bond? The Saint? Or maybe Austin Powers?
The trouble is, that if you'd had one of these phones in the 1980s, you might well have been the object of wonder and admiration as you dialled up Mission Control from your wrist, or spoke to Miss Moneypenny.
But I can't help feeling that anyone seen staring at their chunky LG wristwatch as they make a call is more likely to be a figure of fun.
In short: a gimmick, not a gadget.
But just as I was explaining all this to the man from Orange - while he listened with a fixed smile - a colleague stepped in.
He was a cameraman, with a mild interest in gadgets, but a more pressing need to make his working life easier. "That's the future," he enthused. "I'm carrying all sorts of stuff with me, and just having the phone in a watch, rather than a separate piece of kit, would be a life-saver."
While he blanched at the price, he said he was sure that would come down, and that the watchphone would catch on.
So maybe I'm wrong. But I still think that, like the Sinclair C5, the internet-connected fridge and the Amstrad e-mailer, the watchphone will turn out to be a gimmick rather than the must-have gadget of 2010.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites