It’s been sometime since we’ve seen Microsoft give its Pocket PC line a big marketing push. The last campaign I remember was the whole “you have 5 minutes standing in line, will you stare at the sky or do work on your Pocket PC” ad thingy. Meanwhile the MSN Direct Watch that uses Microsoft SPOT (Smart Personal Object Technology) is being lavished with money and marketing. We attended a media event in New York City to kick off a new Swatch watch powered by SPOT technology and were rather impressed by the celebs and money spent to get this device noticed. Even Bill Gates showed up from the left coast.
Ironically, the Paparazzi got in the way of my pictures, but you can see the full lineup of celebs here. From left to right Swatch CEO Nicolas Hayek (actually a very charismatic guy), Bill Gates (still can’t dress, despite more money than anyone in the world), Mischa Barton (smoking hot), Carl Lewis (fast — or at least used to be), Denis Leary (sometimes funny, but not on this day)
The event at New York’s Supper Club was elaborate, Microsoft and Swatch went completely all out to do this place up and wow the press. Denis Leary came out to entertain people and profess that he’s not a big gadget geek but that the stylish new Swatch watch provided pertinent information that allowed in to stay in touch with news and happenings no matter where he is. A feel good moment arose when Swatch CEO Nicolas Hayek presented Denis Leary with a $25,000 check for his New York Firefighters fund. Kudos to Swatch for doing something good and not just hawking their new product at this event!
Here’s a complete image gallery of the event, 30 pictures in all:
Everyone that showed up got a free Swatch Paparazzi watch; yes Paparazzi is the name Swatch came up with for this new device. The watch comes in four colors: orange, red, blue and black. The watch I got is orange and as you can see from the picture below, it’s rather loud in nature.
The Swatch Meet and Swatch City channels have been newly released in conjunction with the Swatch release. These channels will keep you up to date on what’s going on in your city, if you happen to be in one of ten American cities selected for this content that is. Yesterday after the press event my watch informed me there was a free Sting concert at the Supper Club open to anyone wearing a Paparazzi watch. Unfortunately it won’t lead you to a free concert every night of the week — or ever again for that matter.
Although the SPOT technology is a part of the MSN Microsoft division (MSN Direct to be specific) and not Windows Mobile, which is the umbrella for Microsoft Pocket PC and Microsoft SmartPhone devices, I wonder if there will ever come a day when Microsoft will try and implant this SPOT technology into Pocket PC devices. Although more and more Pocket PC devices are coming with Wi-Fi these days and having a web connection somewhat eliminates the need for a radio FM signal connection that Smart Watches rely on, it might be handy to receive the same content you can get on these watches to your Pocket PC device in a simple push mechanism manner via FM radio signals. You could even display content in a color format, something that is not doable with these watches. Putting an FM antenna in a Pocket PC wouldn’t be hard, it certainly has more room than a watch has to work with, and the chip needed for SPOT content is fairly cheap. Therefore hardware cost additions to provide the ability for a Pocket PC to receive MSN Direct content would probably be $40 or less. But I think Microsoft would have to change it’s whole subscription approach to the MSN direct content service ($50/year for subscription to MSN Direct service, even after buying a watch) to sell this embedded within a Pocket PC, otherwise many people would just get angry they’re paying more for extra hardware components they have no intention of using because it costs money to receive content. But it’s a thought.