This fall, Microsoft's hardware partners will unleash the first generation of smart watches based on the software giant's Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative. The devices will be tied to the subscription-oriented MSN Direct service and will use a new Microsoft .NET-based OS called TinyCLR, which uses under-utilized portions of the FM radio signal. A fully customizable Web interface will give SPOT users always-on wireless access to weather, sports scores, stock quotes, movies, dining, games, and other information, and let them determine which alerts they receive. Initially, watch makers such as Fossil and Suunto will offer SPOT watches but Microsoft says other companies will be on board soon.
"\[SPOT\] watches with MSN Direct service offer an entirely new way for people to stay up to date and informed about the information they care about," said Roger Gulrajani, director for Microsoft's SPOT Group. "With Fossil and Suunto, we have created watches that deliver information with fashion and flair--an important attribute for an accessory people wear every day."
The first batch of SPOT watches will retail for $100 to $300; the MSN Direct service will cost $59 for a yearly subscription or $9.95 a month. MSN Direct will first be available in all major US metropolitan areas and in the largest Canadian cities, Microsoft says. For more information about SPOT, see my preview on the SuperSite for Windows.