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Tissot preps pricey Microsoft data watch

But no sign of UK availability

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Picture Exclusive Swiss watchmaker Tissot is to offer a timepiece capable of receiving information from Microsoft's MSN Direct service.

The High-T is the sixth watch to support MSN Direct, which broadcasts personalised weather reports, news, sports results, stock prices, horoscopes and so forth on the FM band. The service costs $9.95 a month and is only available in North America, but it's not likely to appear elsewhere before the end of the year, if at all.

To date, MSN Direct has been supported by two manufacturers: Fossil and Finland's Suunto. Their products are cheap in comparison to the Tissot, which will retail for $725. Suunto's N3 costs around $300 while Fossil's range from $180 to $200.

Microsoft launched its Smart Personal Object Technology (Spot) in January 2003, promising watches and a service based upon it (MSN Direct) in November of that year. Come November, and the company was forced to admit that it had delayed the launch until January 2004.

In January this year, as it was about to ship its Spot watch, Fossil finally canned its ill-fated and oft-delayed Palm OS-based wristwatch.

Spot-compatible watches have been shipping since then, though Microsoft lost one early partner, Citizen, on the way. Officially, Citizen is evaluating demand, the company said in November 2003.

For its part, Microsoft claims "thousands" of watches have been sold since January. It's planning a big promotional campaign for this coming Christmas. ®

Tissot High-T Spot watch 

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