The SPOT watches run a scaled-down version of Microsoft's CLR (Common Language Runtime) environment. The devices are equipped with a low-cost, power-efficient chipset that consists of an application chip with an ARM7 processor, ROM and static RAM and a 100MHz radio frequency receiver, Microsoft said.
Batteries in the watches will last between three and five days before needing a recharge. If the batteries run out, the clock function of the watch will still work, according to Microsoft.
Analysts are enthusiastic about SPOT and say it probably won't be a dog, even though similar services have failed in the past. Seiko's MessageWatch, sold in the mid-to-late nineties, is a prime example.
"SPOT by no means is a dog. It is a huge initiative to take ordinary objects and give them a new life," said Doherty of The Envisioneering Group.
The main differences between the MessageWatch and SPOT watches are the network connection and advances in low-power radio receivers that make for more powerful receivers and longer battery life, according to Doherty, himself once a MessageWatch user.
Alex Slawsby, an analyst at IDC in Framingham, Massachusetts, sees potential for SPOT watches, though he does not know if hordes of people will rush to get one.
"Whether or not it makes it beyond early adopters will be dependant on how well the watches are marketed, how diverse the available watches are in terms of meeting price and form factor demands," he said.