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Digital Life

Gloves on: putting the hand into handset

Mobiles
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Hi-Call converts your left hand into a phone.

Hi-Call converts your left hand into a phone. Photo: Hi-Call

It brings new meaning to the term "handset".

Can't be bothered walking across the room - or fumbling in your pocket - to answer your mobile?

Meet Hi-Call, the Bluetooth-enabled glove that converts your hand into a speaker and microphone, sewn into the thumb and little finger respectively.

Hi-Call has 20 hours of talk time.

Hi-Call can be used for up to 20 hours non-stop.

It's one of the many gadgets on show at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where most of the world's leading technology companies converge to spruik their cutting-edge wares.

At a price of 49.99 euros ($62.23), the Hi-Call operates up to 10 metres away from a smartphone indoors and is compatible with Apple's iPhone and most other mobiles that have Bluetooth built-in.

Accepting or hanging up on a call can either be done via a green circle or red "x" button on the glove's back. Pairing the device to your smartphone is also done via the control buttons.

Samsung's prototype of a Windows smartphone with a flexible OLED display. Click for more photos

Consumer Electronics Show 2013

Samsung's prototype of a Windows smartphone with a flexible OLED display. Photo: AP

The gloves are also specially wired so they can be used to control smartphone screens - which usually struggle to recognise the touch of a glove - something that's likely to be a bigger advantage in colder countries than Australia.

The device was first shown off at Berlin's IFA 2012 consumer electronics show, and has been available since October.

But not all reviews have been kind.

Brian Heater of tech blog Engadget said then that he had trouble hearing what the person at the other end of the line was saying to him when using the device. But that may have just been because he was on a noisy showfloor.

Of course, how you look walking around speaking into your hand might be another hurdle to the device's take-up more widely.

CES opened its doors on Tuesday, with organisers expecting a crowd of around 150,000 people.

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Poll: Would you consider using a glove as a mobile phone handset?

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Yes, it's great

20%

Would depend how stylish it is

13%

No way - you look ridiculous

67%

Total votes: 2801.

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