REVIEW: Fossil Wrist PDA – Pocket PC Version

by Reads (3,500)

Fossil recently released a product called the Wrist PDA.   There are two versions, one of which interfaces with Pocket PC devices the other Palm devices.   The Wrist PDA is sort of a hybrid between a wrist watch and a PDA.  A little too big to be worn as a watch all the time, it’s still an interesting product and the geek factor is riding high on this one!  Below is my review for the Fossil Wrist PDA Pocket PC edition.

Fossil Wrist PDA Introduction:

I always thought that by the year 2000 we’d be walking the streets bearing voice-activated video phone watches a la Dick Tracy. If the Dick Tracy comic strip authors could have dreamt that up in 1946, then why don’t we have such technology now? Alas, the calculator and built in thermometer watch seem to be the wall of innovation we hit and couldn’t progress beyond since 1990. Or so I thought, until this year when Fossil, the ever trendy and stylish watch and leather goods company, pulled a trick out of their sleeves in the form of a hybrid PDA watch. Not just one PDA watch either, but one that supports the Palm OS PDA and another that supports the Pocket PC platform.

I had the privilege of being able to try out and review the Pocket PC platform Wrist PDA. Although it doesn’t have a voice-activated video phone to communicate with your business partners in crime, the Fossil Wrist PDA does have a whole lot of interesting features that can make life a lot more organized and information access a whole lot more convenient.
What it comes with:

Included in the packaging of the Wrist PDA is the the actual PDA Wrist Watch, a cradle for the watch to be used when beaming information, a user guide CD and 6 batteries. The Wrist Watch uses one battery at a time of course, and it is rather generous of Fossil to include six batteries with this device. The user guide is great and as detailed as it needs to be and the cradle is a little wobbly but does it’s job. The The Wrist Watch itself is rather bulky, although it looks stylish it is simply too big. Fossil will need to work on cutting the size down, because even though you might wear this type of watch to be noticed and cool, it’s a little extreme. So while Shaquille O’Neal would relish a watch of such dimensions, I’m left feeling a little weighed down.

Overview:

The basic premise of the Fossil Wrist PDA is that this strap on your wrist PDA can be used to synch data with your much more bulky regular PDA. Think of it as an assistant to your Personal Digital Assistant. If that doesn’t sound just a little geeky to you, then you’re probably too much of a geek to even realize it, so go and buy the Fossil wrist PDA now.

Joking aside, the Wrist PDA is made to communicate with your PDA and not your desktop computer. Using a special edition of a software program named Peacemaker, you are able to beam data from your PDA to the Wrist Watch such as calendar, contacts, tasks, and notes. Note, the Wrist Watch does not let you edit data, the only way to get data into the watch is via your PDA. Getting the software setup on your PDA to transfer the data from it to the watch is a snap though, below is a picture of the data transfer screen you’ll get after all the software is installed on your Pocket PC device and things are ready to transfer:

The watch can store up to 190KB of information, so if you have a ton of data on your PDA it is wise to be a little bit selective in what data you beam from your PDA to the wrist watch, but I didn’t find this size much of a limitation. Taking out old calendar entries is a good idea to save space though. As far as ease of beaming, I found it relatively easy to beam when the watch was close to the PDA, but if any more than a few inches apart the beaming didn’t work to well. Here’s a picture of a suggested way to mount the PDA and Wrist Watch when doing beaming (blush):

After the data is on the Watch, it is easy to navigate through everything and that’s where the power is. Your calendar, all your contacts and all your appointments are right there on your wrist. A joystick style button allows you to navigate through the various menus to see contacts, calendar, notes or tasks. The joystick is good, but I found it a little stiff and non-reactive at times. Anyway, the power of this thing is that you really don’t even need your head screwed on to keep your organization and sanity now, just your wrist. The navigation button is a simple joystick.

Conclusion:

If I can fit 1000 contacts, 800 appointments and 5000 to do’s on my wrist, then I think there’s some power in that. But, if I can’t be comfortable actually wearing the device that does this for me then there’s a slight problem. Basically, I like the functionality of this device but not the form. Rather odd for Fossil to put out a product that I don’t like the form of, that really is their forte in the watch industry. My suggestion would be to wear this device only when needed and simply take advantage of the fact it is very portable and can be worn as a watch if needed. It really is a cool concept and especially useful if your PDA is thick or unwieldy, as this will serve as a very portable PDA type of device. The Fossil Wrist PDA is worth checking out in your local Fossil store, but definitely wear it first to see if you can deal with the size factor because if you can, functionality is there my friend — and it’s as close to Dick Tracy as we’re going to get for now!

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