Fossil Slims Down MSN Smart Watches
Fossil is ratcheting up its support of Microsoft's MSN Direct wireless service with a new line of Wrist Net "smart watches" that are more fashionable than previous models.
The watches come in a choice of two different brands -- Fossil and its offshoot ABACUS line -- and three styles, all of which are designed with a thinner form factor and butterfly clasps for comfort. The Wrist Net watches enable users to connect to personalized news, weather updates, sports scores, stock quotes, horoscopes, lottery results, personal messages, and entertainment news through MSN.
"I've seen the new Fossil Smart Watches, which are more stylish and slimmer than the first-generation models. I expect the changes to broaden the timepieces' appeal. Microsoft also has modified the MSN Direct service, so that some channels are available for free, which also should help broaden appeal," Jupiter Research senior analyst Joe Wilcox told BetaNews. "Manufacturers like Fossil can further differentiate their timepieces and extend services through unique watch faces."
Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch also recently launched a new MSN Direct-based timepiece dubbed Paparazzi. The watch provides wearers with exclusive details on hot bars and free events, and even the chance to meet celebrities.
"I can't speak for the new Fossils, since I haven't yet used one, but new Swatch models indicate the extent of Smart Watch version 2 improvements," said Wilcox. "I've been wearing a Swatch watch for eight days now, without a recharge, about double the first-generation Fossil watches and three days more than Suunto N3. Better battery life is one of the many version 2 improvements."
Microsoft launched MSN Direct during the January 2004 Consumer Electronic Show as a deliverable of its eHome initiative. The service is available in the US and Canada only and costs $39.95 USD per year.
Fossil's new Wrist Net watches, which run $199 USD, can be found on the company's Web site. ABACUS smart watches are priced at $129 USD, and are available from participating retailers and the ABACUS Web site.