Microsoft to Develop Watches

January 13, 2003

Microsoft to Develop Watches

Microsoft Corp. will team with watch firms Fossil, Citizen and Suunto to create digital wrist devices that take advantage of new software to display snippets of information gathered from FM frequencies.

The technology, Smart Personal Object Technology, enables the devices to wirelessly gather data such as appointments, telephone numbers and weather forecasts. Other functions in the new devices might include personalized dial configurations, and customized retrieval settings.

Microsoft will join other companies, including Fossil, Timex and Casio, that place myriad functions onto a smaller sized device akin to a wrist watch. Microsoft's new entry will use its own SPOT technology placed into designs by its three partners. Several prototypes have been unveiled. Prices are likely to begin at about $150 and will be available this fall. The initial coverage area for the technology will be 100 of the largest population centers in North America.

Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates announced the new wrist watches Jan. 7 during his keynote address at the 2003 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Microsoft worked with National Semiconductor Corp. for more than two years to plan and build chips to power wristwatches and other SPOT-based devices.

by Michael Thompson

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