Microsoft’s SPOT (Smart Personal Object Technology) has had quite a long life in it’s original form, with up to date information being delivered to various devices – as diverse as watches and coffee makers – but as times have changed demand has waned.
Partners are no longer selling SPOT enabled watches – although the good news for us who use them is that the service will continue to deliver news, weather and other updates as expected for time to come.
That doesn’t mean it’s the end for the brand though. The MSN Direct service is changing along with the needs of it’s audience and delivering content in more appropriate and targeted ways… the SPOT devices are becoming less visible and more just a part of every day life.
What use is traffic data and gas prices delivered to your phone? If you’re in the car then wouldn’t it make sense it your GPS device knew that information and could make use of it? Well, with the partnership with Garmin (“MSN Direct services for GPS Navigation Devices” according to the marketing folks) the technology is embedded into your Satellite Navigation to help make smarter decisions.
One criticism of the SPOT enabled watches was the screen size. Well, a lot of people already carry a device with a much larger screen every day – their phone. Using over the air data delivery or WiFi (for phones that support that) the MSN Direct service is available both as a native Windows Mobile client or via any mobile browser by visiting the mobile enabled http://phone.msndirect.com.
It’s great to see how this really simple technology has evolved from it’s useful but admittedly clunky origins. Of course, if you’re determined to have a really high tech watch you should check out the Epoq EGP-WP98B – a smart watch that runs Windows Mobile 5 (yes, it’s a phone!)