A smart wristwatch is a wristwatch that not only tells time but, using a wireless connection to an information source, can show you the news, stock, sports scores, or weather; remind you of meetings on your Outlook calendar; provide instant messaging input from others; and update the time when you move to another time zone. Such a wristwatch has to be small enough to be worn on the wrist and yet have a face that can display a sufficiently useful amount of information. Like the Dick Tracy wristwatch of the cartoon strip, a smart wristwatch contains a small radio receiver. Unlike the Dick Tracy wristwatch that seemed to work everywhere, today's smart wristwatch depends on being in a major metropolitan area for periodic radio transmission updating.
Vendors today are offering smart wristwatches that take advantage of Microsoft's Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) and its MSN Direct service. The purchaser of a smart wristwatch pays Microsoft about $10 a month or $60 a year for access to information that is periodically transmitted to the wristwatch. A user can configure the wristwatch at an MSN Direct Web page.
Microsoft's SPOT consists of a network of FM radio stations; information is broadcast on subcarriers of the main broadcast signal at 12 Kbps. The first wristwatches are being offered by Citizen, Fossil, and Suunto.