The Fossil Wrist PDA with Palm OS, scheduled to be available at the end of June, will not be available until early July, according to Fossil. However, Amazon.com reports that it won’t be available until July 21.
Unlike Fossil’s previous attempt to combine a watch and a handheld, the Wrist PDA actually includes Palm OS 4.1 and can run almost any application written for that operating system. It has a 33 MHz Motorola Dragonball VZ processor, 2 MB of RAM, and 2 MB of ROM. Pre-loaded applications include: Address Book, Date Book, Memo Pad, Calculator and To Do List.
The 160-by-160 pixel touch screen is backlit and can display 16 shades of gray. It includes a stylus integrated into the band for Graffiti input and a rocker switch.
It has an infrared port to support beaming between all Palm Powered devices. According to Fossil, it can run for 4 days between recharges and comes with a charging cable.
There are three versions of the Wrist PDA. These vary by styling and price, not by functionality. The Dress version has a metal wristband and sells for $295. The Casual version is also $295 and has a leather wristband. Finally, the Sport version has a plastic wristband and costs $275.
Versions of the Wrist PDA will also be available under the Abacus brand name for considerably less. These have the same internal mechanism but different exteriors from the Fossil ones. Amazon is taking pre-orders for a dress version with a metal wristband for $199 and a Sport version with a plastic wristband for $180. It says these will be available July 31.
Abacus has released an SDK for the Wrist PDA so developers can write apps specifically for it.
“We believe consumers want the functionality of a handheld with the style and portability of a wrist watch,” said Donald R. Brewer, vice president of technology for Fossil. “The Palm OS enables Fossil to provide customers with a fashionable wrist-worn device that is incredibly useful, yet lightweight, small, and powerful.”
This device was first announced at COMDEX in November, where it was named “Best of COMDEX” in the mobile devices category. To win, it had to beat the HP iPAQ Pocket PC h5400 series and the Nokia 3650 mobile phone, which were also nominated.
This is Fossil’s second attempt at putting a PDA into a watch. The first version worked in combination with a Palm OS or Pocket PC and was not a big success. Reviewers complained that it was too bulky and offered slow performance.