Microsoft to Develop Watches
The timepieces will use new SPOT technology
Microsoft Corp. is teaming with watch manufacturers Fossil, Citizen and Suunto to create digital wrist devices that take advantage of new software that displays snippets of information gathered from FM frequencies.
The technology, called Smart Personal Object Technology, or SPOT, enables the devices to wirelessly gather information such as appointments, telephone numbers and weather forecasts. Other functions might include personalized dial configurations and customized retrieval settings.
Fossil, Timex and Casio have already introduced other wristwatch-like devices with myriad functions, including access to weather information and stock quotes. Those with the Microsoft technology are still in design development, though several prototypes have been unveiled. They will likely sell for about $150 retail and be available this fall in 100 of the largest population centers in North America.
Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates announced the new wristwatches at the International Consumer Electronics Show. Microsoft worked with National Semiconductor Corp. for more than two years to plan and build computer chips to power wristwatches and other SPOT-based devices.
by Michael Thompson