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Fossil says Wrist PDA will ship in the US this month after all

Everyone else will have to wait, though

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Watch maker Fossil has denied that the US release of its Palm OS-based Wrist PDA watch-cum-personal organiser has been delayed until early next year.

But it did admit that overseas customers will now have to wait until some time during the first quarter of 2004 to get their hands on the device.

The statement follows comments made by Fossil UK, which earlier this week said it had just been informed that the Wrist PDA would not ship in the US until early 2004, with the international release taking place at some as yet unknown date later in the year. Originally, we were told, international shipments were to have begun later this year.

However, Fossil UK's North American parent today told The Register that the device will ship in the US on 30 June as planned, following a 19 June launch bash co-sponsored by Palm OS developer PalmSource. The event will take place during CeBIT USA being held that week in New York.

According to Fossil US, it has simply shifted the international ship-date back to Q1 2004. That decision had been made, it said, because of "unexpectedly high order volume among US retailers and distributors over the past six months" which forced it to "re-purpose our international stock and delay the product's overseas debut".

Amazon last week began taking pre-orders for the Wrist PDA, which it said would ship on 30 June. That move prompted us to seek further availability information from Fossil's UK subsidiary.

Announced last November, the Wrist PDA is based on Palm OS 4.1 running on a 33MHz Dragonball VZ processor. It contains 4MB of memory, and crams a mini-stylus, job dial, IR port and USB adaptor into its casing. The display is 4-bit greyscale. Fossil will be offering the device under its own brand - and under its low-cost, less stylish Abacus brand.

Fossil's Abacus Wrist PDA ($199) Fossil's own Wrist PDA ($295)

Fossil is also working on a watch based on Microsoft's Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) smart device initiative, which the software giant said was on track to ship this autumn. Fossil's SPOT watch receives news and information via FM radio signals - a sort of cross between WAP and push technology. That's not particularly smart, we'd say. Microsoft expects to charge $59 a year or $9.95 a month for the service, known as MSN Direct. ®

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