Microsoft Launches ‘Smart’ Watches

Microsoft early this year launched its new “SPOT” watches, which display customized, up-to-date information such as weather, sports, and news.

The “smart” timepieces, developed by the software giant in conjunction with the watch brands Citizen, Fossil, and Suunto, were originally scheduled to go on sale in the fall of 2003. Microsoft gave no reason for the delay, but insiders quoted in the press reports said the sophisticated radio-based “Smart Personal Objects Technology” (SPOT) needed further testing.

Citizen may be rethinking its involvement in the project, say electronics and computer industry press reports quoting Citizen officials. Citizen was absent from Microsoft’s stand at the 2003 COMDEX Las Vegas electronics show in November. Only Suunto and Fossil’s prototypes were shown. “Smart” watches of both went on sale in January.

SPOT watches receive information via FM signals from Microsoft’s MSN North American radio network and display it according to wearers’ specifications. Users will pay a monthly fee for the service.