CES: Fossil & Microsoft Team on SPOT technology

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Many of you may have heard of the new Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) Bill Gates spoke about on Wednesday evening at the CES, this technology will allow people to pull information down to their watches such as sports scores, weather, stock quotes, news and instant messages via FM radio waves. Microsoft has quietly purchased FM broadcast rights across 95% of the U.S. and Canada to distribute content data for SPOT. In addition to this, Microsoft has formed partnerships with companies such as Fossil and Citizen to design watches appealing to consumers to integrate this technology with. Fossil was actually able to show us a couple of the SPOT watches they have ready for this Fall, one of these watches is pictured below.

Microsoft was really pumping the abilities of this technology and we learned a lot from the demonstrations they had set up. People will be able to personalize content channels. Additionally, news and weather pulled to the watch will configure itself to the area you re in. For example, fly from Portland to Atlanta and you ll get Atlanta updated weather, news and time instead of Portland s when your plane touches down. This technology will not just be for watches; refrigerator magnets, buttons and alarm clocks that display today s updated forecast and Nikkei stock market positions from while you were sleeping will be rolled out. The monthly service charge for subscribing to this personalized content straight to your Fossil watch or other device will be around $10.00.

Before this SPOT watch is rolled out, Fossil has other big things coming sooner. Fossil has confirmed that their next PDA Watch release will come in May. Many of you may know about the current Fossil PDA watch on the market, it was released in the summer of 2002 and has received luke-warm sales figures. That PDA watch featured a proprietary OS that enabled you to synch with either a Palm OS device or Pocket PC OS device, so it was basically a slave to your PDA. We weren t huge fans of this device, but liked the idea and direction it was pointing. Fossil representatives confirmed to us the release of the PDA watch last year was indeed mostly an attempt to test the waters for the market on PDA watches. Fossil found there is indeed a market for PDA watches, so now they are putting the finishing touches on a fully integrated Palm OS watch. The technology for developing this device comes from the engineers at Flextronics, while the styling and branding is provided by Fossil.  The PDA watch will run a full version of Palm OS 4.1 on it and use a touch screen and mini stylus.  We were able to play around with a couple of these devices, a low-end device titled Abacus will sell at a price point of just below $200 while a higher end device with the Fossil branding will sell at around $300. Unlike the last PDA watch there will be many options for design and band-type. Below are a few pictures of this promising device:




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