Swatch to sell Microsoft-based wireless watches

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Swiss watchmaker Swatch AG on Wednesday introduced "Paparazzi" watches that use Microsoft Corp.'s Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT), giving Dick Tracy wannabes yet another watch brand to choose from.

Swatch joins Tissot SA, also of Switzerland, Fossil Inc. of the U.S. and Finland's Suunto Oy in offering watches that can receive snippets of information transmitted by Microsoft's MSN Direct subscription service. Users can receive news, weather, appointment reminders, messages and other information they selected.

Swatch's new Paparazzi watch is available in four multicolored designs and priced at US$145. The watches are available online and at 40 Swatch stores in the U.S. and Canada.

SPOT uses a portion of the FM radio spectrum to deliver information to wristwatches equipped with the technology. Microsoft announced availability of the first SPOT watches and its MSN Direct service at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early this year, months later than originally planned.

Microsoft continues to look at international markets, but no international service is planned until at least next year. Microsoft has said that it has thousands of MSN Direct subscribers and is hoping to get more this holiday shopping season.

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