There have been several attempts to fuse fashion with data functionality, then strap it to your wrist, but no product has seemed as plausible--or as wearable--as the upcoming Wrist PDA from Fossil, which is scheduled to land in stores in late June or early July.
The littlest Palm
This wristwatch/Palm device combo runs Palm OS 4.1 and is powered by a 33MHz DragonBall processor. With only 2MB of memory, it's clearly not a powerhouse. However, it will provide an effortless way to access basic Palm apps--an address book, a date book, a to-do list, a calculator, and even rudimentary games--on the face of a watch.
The Wrist PDA's grayscale touch-screen display is roughly one inch square, with a 160x160-pixel resolution and a backlight. To navigate a screen of this size, you'll need a bit more concentration than when using the average Palm device, and Fossil makes it easier by including three buttons that let you access data without having to whip out the tiny stylus that's cleverly built into the watchband.
When you do need to input data, you can easily do so by writing the familiar Graffiti symbols on the screen. The unit will also have infrared-beaming capabilities, so you may opt to beam your info from another Palm-based device. While you can't view huge chunks of data on a display this small, we found it surprisingly easy to read brief items such as calendar entries and contacts in our early look at the device.
The Wrist PDA is a bit portly at 5.7 ounces. It's also a bit chunky, though bulky wristwatches are popular these days among men and, increasingly, with women. The unit comes with a USB cradle that syncs data with your PC and recharges the watch. According to Fossil, the device will last roughly four days on a single charge and will take just a couple of hours to recharge.
All in all, this mini-Palm is more usable than you'd think at first glance and could prove to be a bonanza for business travelers weary of packing multiple devices. The PDA watch will come in two different models, with prices to match: the Abacus will sell for $199 and target impulse buyers, while the Fossil brand will offer a slightly more fashionable look and cost $299. Hardware specs are identical for both devices.