Bill Gates Meets Dick Tracy. Again.

Microsoft and others have failed to sell us on gadget-loaded watches. This year, the company says, the time has come.

"The wrist," says Bill Mitchell, "is the beachfront property on the body." Mitchell, one of Microsoft's Big Thinkers, has spent the last three years of his career figuring out how to plant the company's beach umbrella on that very space, so he has a tendency to say things like this.

He's the director of the company's Smart Personal Object Technology division, the software maker's latest move to make Microsoft technology unavoidable. If Mitchell is successful, your next wristwatch will do more than tell you what time it is; it'll also display your schedule for the day, stock quotes, weather reports and traffic updates and will relay instant messages from your office and friends.

In targeting the watch and the wrist, the software giant is just this week's news. It has a lot of company, past and present, in this pursuit of this Holy Grail of the tech-gadget world -- including an attempt in its own past. Why the wrist as a place to park technology? To start, says Michael Gartenberg, research director at Jupiter Research, most people don't have to remember to take their wristwatch with them in the morning. A watch is so personal, it's practically part of the wearer's body.

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News source: Washington Post

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