Microsoft sets time for cyberwatches

Wristwatches embedded with Microsoft's smart technology are expected to appear in retail stores next month, a move that comes after a delay of several months.

Tech Culture
Wristwatches embedded with Microsoft's smart technology are expected to appear in retail stores next month, a move that comes after a delay of several months, a company spokesman said Tuesday.

Microsoft's Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) and its subscription-based MSN Direct service will power the wristwatches, along with other devices to be released in the future. The much-hyped technology and watches were initially set to launch in the fall. The delay will lead to Microsoft and retailers missing the lucrative holiday shopping season.

"We'll be shipping the watches sometime in January, but there is no specific date," a Microsoft spokesman said. "We wanted to extend the beta testing to ensure a good customer experience."

Watchmakers Fossil and Suunto will be among the first to offer the devices, which will allow users to check stock quotes, sports scores, movie listings and other information.

The nationwide release will target the 100 largest metropolitan markets. Fossil's watches are expected to retail for approximately $180 to $200.

Microsoft also plans to unveil its MSN Premium and MSN Plus service during the Consumer Electronics Show next month in Las Vegas. Both services offer high-speed broadband connections, with the premium service designed for multi-users in a household and the other service for a single user.

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