Microsoft SPOT Watches Hit Stores

Wristwatches and wireless services based on Microsoft's Smart Personal Objects Technology won't be on sale in time for the holidays, but they are coming soon. The devices will be available in January, the software giant confirms. Microsoft will use next month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to announce the availability of the devices, which were announced there last year. The software maker also plans to launch updates to its MSN Internet Software, and is expected to outline planned improvements to the Media Center Edition of Windows XP at the show. Smart Personal Objects Technology, or SPOT, uses a portion of the FM broadcast radio networks to deliver snippets of information about weather, news, stock prices, and sports scores to wristwatches equipped with the technology.

Trouble SPOT

The technology was first announced at CES in January 2003, and SPOT watches were originally supposed to go on sale from Fossil and other watchmakers in time for the holiday shopping season. Last-minute tweaks to a radio chip in the watches delayed their introduction, according to a source familiar with the effort. The problem has now been fixed and Fossil has manufactured "many thousands" of SPOT watches that will hit stores next month, the source says. Microsoft's MSN Direct Service, which will deliver information to the watches, will also be available at that time. According to Microsoft, plans are priced at $9.95 per month or $59 per year; watches start at $129.

News source: PCWorld

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