Stephen H. Wildstrom
Business Week: Microsoft may be the only company in the world that could have brought the MSN Direct Smart Watch to market. Having $50 billion in the bank is handy if you want to take a slightly goofy research project — a wristwatch that receives news and instant messages and displays your calendar — and turn it into a mass-market item in less than a year. Last January, Microsoft Chairman William H. Gates III demonstrated a prototype of a data watch, then called Smart Personal Object Technology. Microsoft Research, working with a tiny radio and processor developed by National Semiconductor, had found a way to make devices as small as watches act as one-way pagers, receiving data over part of the FM signal not used by radio stations. (full story)
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