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Time runs out on Microsoft's SPOT watches

The once-hyped Smart Watch has been discontinued, but current owners can find solace in the fact that MSN Direct service will continue broadcast to the existing watches.

Happier times: The launch of the Swatch Paparazzi in New York. Microsoft

It's a sad day for fans of Smart Watches, which use Microsoft's once-hyped SPOT technology. The Smart Watch, the epitome of nerd chic, is dead.

Engadget picked up a blog post from Jon Canan, program manager for MSN Direct, who delivered the news on SpotStop.com:

"As of recently, the Smart Watches with MSN Direct have sold out and are no longer for sale," Canan writes. "While we continue to move forward with MSN Direct and seeking out new opportunities for devices that would benefit from the MSN Direct service, we, along with our watch partners, do not have immediate plans to create a new version of the Smart Watch, as we are focused on other areas of our business. We will maintain support of our watch customers and continue to deliver information to the watches, but we do not plan to increase our investment in the watch business going forward."

In its launch year, Microsoft put a lot of money behind the Smart Watch and partnered up with Fossil, Suunto, Swatch, and even Tissot, which produced a high-end, touch-screen model that cost $800. (Check out former CNET editor-in-chief Pat Houston in the video below). With Sting playing the launch party for the Swatch Paparazzi, things were looking up--for a moment anyway.

Truth be told, I actually liked the Smart Watch, though some models looked and fit better than others. However, like many tech pundits, I knew its chances of survival were not great. Combine a somewhat expensive and bulky watch that contained a battery you had to charge every few days with a wireless service that had a subscription fee and you're looking at an uphill battle. Microsoft eventually did make the basic version of MSN Direct free, but the watches only found a niche audience.

Luckily, for those of you who still own a Smart Watch, the MSN Direct service will live on and continue to broadcast content to your watch for the foreseeable future. Anybody else sad--or was the Smart Watch just a stupid idea destined to fail?

Via: Engadget