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Thu, Jul 24, 2014

LOGUE: UK company gets smart with wearable phone

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There’s a new product for sale in the United Kingdom that is either an indicator of consumer confidence or consumer nuttiness.

It is manufactured by O2, the U.K. subsidiary of global telecommunications company Telefonica.

It’s a telephone you wear on your feet – at least one of your feet.

An artist named Sean Miles looked for different kinds of footwear, including high-heeled boots and Nike Air Trainers. Then he inserted old parts from Nokia and LG cell phones collected through a recycling program into the shoes.

The styles might not pass muster on “Project Runway,” but the phones really work.

After all, if staying in touch is that important to you, why would you care how you look with a Ferragamo pump sticking out of your ear?

Of course, we’re not sure how text messaging would work on Miles’ wearable phones. Some people text back and forth for such long periods of time their naked foot might suffer frostbite.

Or, if you come down with a case of athlete’s eardrum, how do you get the Desenex powder to stay in the ear canal?

If we could use the phone without taking it off our foot, maybe it could be a constructive way for those of us who hate phone trees to complete our calls and express our frustration simultaneously.

If you’re calling about your bill, stamp one. If you’re calling about our new line of widgets, stamp two. If you’d like to bypass all this crap and speak to a real person, stamp both feet and say, “Damn it! Put me through to a human being!”

Plans are in the works for handbag phones and glove phones. Dare we speculate on what other accessories and apparel items are next?

A talking bra might have extra benefits if you like to talk dirty to your significant other on the phone.

There could be some interesting ringtones in the works for these phones. Anything by Robert or Clara Schumann would work. Also, you could put Frank Sinatra singing “shoo-be-doo-be-doo” on a loop.

The moral appeal, purportedly, is to the environmentally conscientious consumer. Miles calls it “upcycling” instead of “recycling.”

However, the appeal is not to the financially conscientious consumer. These devices cost nearly $4,000 each.

If you’re going to be the kind of first adopter who stands in line for this gizmo, you’re probably going to take a limousine to the store and have your chauffeur stand in line for you.

By the way, in case you’re ready to tout these fashionable phones as one of the marvels of the digital age, think again.

Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, the creators of the “Get Smart” TV sitcom that ran on network television from 1965 to 1970, created the shoe phone for their inept secret agent, Maxwell Smart. They beat Sean Miles by about 50 years.

Would you believe 48 years?
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