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LAS VEGAS–Does the world need another smart watch? Watch-maker Martian certainly thinks so. It just showcased its Passport watch at CES 2013. Not only does this wristband gadget sync with iPhones and Android handsets to display texts and other alerts, it lets user actually answer calls and command their phones directly through the watch.

It sounds like an odd concept, one taken right out of “Knight Rider reruns or Dick Tracy comic strips, but don’t scoff just yet. Despite the Passport Watch’s apparently plump profile in promotional product shots, the device is actually quite moderately sized. Indeed in person it isn’t noticeably larger than a conventional timepiece.

Of course the Martian Passport is anything but a conventional watch. Using companion Android and iPhone apps, the device connects to compatible phones via its Bluetooth 4.0 radio. Once linked, users can view texts, e-mails, tweets, or other alerts as they roll in. The watch also buzzes softly in case you miss the information displayed on its small OLED screen. Answer calls hands-free, too, by speaking directly into the Passport’s microphone and listen to audio pipped through the gadget’s large speaker.

Above the screen is a standard clock face, albeit crafted in a retro 1960s style. All this sophistication doesn’t come cheap, though. The Martian Passport Watch costs a steep $299 and will ship by late February, early March.

(Credit: Brian Bennett/CNET)
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