Contents tagged with SPOT (MSN Direct)

  • MSN Direct Goes High Def with Clear Channel

    Posted by bink on January 9 2007, 9:32 PM. Posted in SPOT (MSN Direct).

    Companies collaborate to deliver rich data services on HD digital radio format to smarten everyday objects.

    Microsoft Corp. and Clear Channel Radio today announced at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that they have executed a collaborative agreement to build a nationwide data delivery service using HD Radio technology, providing personalized and localized content to a variety of HD Radio receivers. This initiative will be branded MSN® Direct HD, an extension of Microsoft’s existing MSN Direct service, which currently transmits a variety of information including traffic, weather, movie times, sports, and stocks to Smart Watches, weather stations, Global Positioning System navigation devices and small home appliances.

    The expansion of MSN Direct to HD Radio is part of Microsoft’s Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative. The companies will introduce opportunities for consumer electronics companies and automotive manufacturers to offer MSN Direct content in HD digital radio format on their devices in 2008.

    “We are really excited to provide MSN Direct glanceable information in high-definition format and also to make it available to a whole new range of devices through HD Radio and our alliance with Clear Channel. MSN Direct is a great fit for the next generation of data-capable HD radios,” said Eric Lang, general manager of the Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) business group at Microsoft. “Clear Channel Radio has demonstrated its commitment to the aggressive rollout of HD digital radio, and will help further extend the MSN Direct-enabled product category and the realization of our vision of making everyday objects smarter through technology.”

    Clear Channel Radio is currently offering HD digital radio primary broadcasts on more than 340 of its radio stations across the country, of which two thirds are supplying additional audio content via HD Radio multicasting.

    “Microsoft’s SPOT initiative has illustrated its ability to turn personal objects into mobile tools with this impressive platform,” said Jeff Littlejohn, executive vice president of Distribution and Development for Clear Channel Radio. “Combining Microsoft’s existing technology and customer service background with Clear Channel’s exceptional HD Radio delivery platform will provide customers with a world class data service.”

  • Microsoft SPOT Initiative Accelerates With Addition of MSN Direct to Navigation Devices

    Posted by bink on January 9 2007, 9:31 PM. Posted in SPOT (MSN Direct).

    Traffic conditions, gas prices, local weather updates, movie times and more to be available on Garmin GPS devices.

    Today at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft Corp.’s Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) Group announced the availability of MSN® Direct navigation services and announced that Garmin International Inc. will be the first to offer the new MSN Direct service to Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. Customers will be able to receive dynamic local information, including weather condition and traffic updates, movies listings, and gas prices.

    Microsoft SPOT also announced plans to work with future versions of Microsoft® Streets & Trips and Pharos Science & Applications Inc. to offer MSN Direct Navigation Services to their devices. In addition, Microsoft SPOT is working with Centrality Communications Inc. to integrate MSN Direct with its GPS reference designs, one built around Centrality’s Atlas-III processor and a second one for the higher-end multimedia Titan processor.

    The MSN Direct service is delivered through Microsoft’s DirectBand™ Network, a cost-effective and power-efficient system for wide-area wireless data delivery that covers more than 70 percent of the U.S. population.* The network transmits content every two minutes to enable consumers to receive current and relevant information while on the go.

    “Our network is ideally suited for delivering a wide variety of personalized location-based services at a low cost to the mobile consumer. We are proud to be working with industry leaders to continue the evolution of the SPOT vision of making everyday objects smarter through technology,” said Eric Lang, general manager of the SPOT initiative at Microsoft. “We are showing new and exciting technologies and devices at CES this year, and are pleased to have greatly enhanced and expanded our suite of products.”

    Microsoft Shows New Garmin Products, Reveals Plans to Work With Other GPS Device Leaders Continue At Source

  • Wake Up and Smell the Coffee and the Weather Together With the New Melitta Smart Mill & Brew With MSN Direct

    Posted by bink on November 17 2006, 1:37 AM. Posted in SPOT (MSN Direct).

    For the first time, get real-time weather forecast information and the freshest brewed coffee with a single device.

    Just in time for the holidays, the Melitta® Smart Mill & Brew™ with MSN® Direct has officially hit retail stores. The first coffee maker to display real-time weather information incorporates Microsoft Corp.’s Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT).

    Manufactured by Salton Inc., a leading domestic designer, marketer and distributor of a broad range of branded, high-quality small appliances, this new coffee maker automatically detects current weather conditions, the day’s forecast, probability for precipitation, and sunrise and sunset times, without the need for outdoor sensors, through MSN Direct.* And it brews a great cup of coffee from either whole beans or ground coffee.

    “We are all busy people, constantly on the go. Everyone needs up-to-date weather information, and this is a fun, new way to get weather with a quick glance,” said Eric Lang, general manager of the SPOT initiative at Microsoft. “With the Melitta Smart Mill & Brew Coffee Maker, we are extending the MSN Direct-enabled product category and realizing our vision of making everyday objects smarter through technology.”

    Other products that have featured the MSN Direct weather content include Smart Watches with MSN Direct and the Oregon Scientific Weather Station with MSN Direct.

    “The addition of weather information to our Melitta Mill & Brew coffee makers greatly enhances the customer experience in that the entire process is simple, automatic and easy,” said Leonhard Dreimann, chief executive officer of Salton. “We are pleased to be working with Microsoft and our retail partners on this fun and functional product that combines two of the things that we want most when we start our days coffee and weather.”

    Customers can now purchase the Melitta Smart & Brew with MSN Direct online at and through Sharper Image stores, catalog and online offerings for $199.99 (estimated retail price**; all prices are U.S. dollars). The MSN Direct content is automatically included in the purchase price.

    This easy-to-use coffee maker features an automatic whole bean grinding function, simple-pour water reservoir, warming plate with auto shut-off, permanent stainless steel filter basket, and large LCD display with bright blue backlight.

    More information about the product can be found at

  • Fashion and Technology Merge in the New ABACUS Smart Watch 2006 with MSN Direct

    Posted by spy on June 15 2006, 3:48 PM. Posted in SPOT (MSN Direct).

    REDMOND, Wash. — June 13, 2006 — Microsoft Corp.’s Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative today launched the next generation of Smart Watches for MSN® Direct: the ABACUS Smart Watch 2006. These newest watches feature double the storage capacity of previous watches, improved download speed, a thinner bezel and several stylish bands.

    “This new generation of Smart Watches gives wearers greater choice, convenience and value,” said Eric Lang, general manager of the SPOT initiative at Microsoft. “With the ABACUS Smart Watch 2006, we not only refined the aesthetics, but also significantly enhanced the technology within the watch and are pleased with this latest extension of the SPOT vision.”

    ABACUS Offers More Styles, Choices

    From Fossil Inc., one of the original providers of Smart Watches, the new ABACUS Smart Watch 2006 is the next evolution of the Smart Watch category. It features a metal bezel and a choice of watch bands: black leather, brown crocodile leather, green fabric, classic metal or modern metal. In addition to the new styles, with the increased storage capacity and download speed, wearers of the ABACUS Smart Watch 2006 can download even more MSN Direct channels, providing them with additional value and a wide range of choices.

    The new ABACUS Smart Watch 2006 is now available online at, and for $179 MSRP (all prices are U.S.), which includes a one-year subscription to the MSN Direct Smart Plan (a $39.95 value). The MSN Direct Smart Plan features content such as news, weather, sports scores, stock quotes, movie times, traffic (in beta and where available), daily diversions, horoscopes, lottery results, and downloadable watch faces including special holiday-themed faces. For an additional $20 per year, consumers can receive their MSN Messenger personal messages and Microsoft® Office Outlook® calendar sync.

  • Laptop Secondary Displays, old news

    Posted by bink on February 13 2005, 3:25 AM. Posted in SPOT (MSN Direct).

    Paul Thurrott: Few reports this week touting a VSLive! presentation during which a Microsoft executive showed off secondary displays for upcoming Longhorn-based laptops that are based on the company's Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT). Although these displays, which sit on the outside of a laptop shell, are a cool idea, they're not new. In fact, Microsoft first showed them publicly almost a year ago at Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2004. And as you might expect, there were posted pictures on the SuperSite for Windows at that time. like this:
  • Microsoft SPOT and Suunto n3 Smart Watch review

    Posted by bink on December 31 2004, 8:59 PM. Posted in SPOT (MSN Direct).

    About four years ago, Microsoft's Research and Development team came up with a new technology called Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) that uses FM radio signals to broadcast news, weather and other information to wristwatches. The first Smart Watches leveraging SPOT were first launched last January at the Consumer Electronics Show however it did take them a few extra months to get the wireless service running with all its features and have wristwatches available more widely.

    According to the software giant, the technology is comprised of three pillars: the computing platform (SPOT), the wireless service (MSN Direct) and a new FM radio-based network (Microsoft DirectBand network).

    Over the past few months we were given the opportunity to review Microsoft's SPOT service. The service costs either $39.95 per year or $9.95 per month, plus tax. Continue At Source

  • SPOT watches in Europe?

    Posted by bink on December 6 2004, 3:56 PM. Posted in SPOT (MSN Direct).

    On Möbius conference, which is currently held in Seattle, Microsoft confirmed that the SPOT watch concept is coming to some countries in Europe as well, at least Microsoft is negotiating the possibilities to launch the service in several countries including Germany, Austria and Italy.

    More information in MSN Direct and SPOT.

  • MSN Direct to Premiere Movie Listings on Smart Watches

    Posted by bink on November 8 2004, 2:11 PM. Posted in SPOT (MSN Direct).

    Microsoft Corp. Friday announced that it will launch its movie channel for MSN® Direct, which allows movie buffs to view show times and movie listings for selected theaters directly on their Smart Watch. The new content is slated to go live Monday, Nov. 8.
    “Smart Watches are all about bringing fun and timely information to people while they are on the go. The new movie content does just that by allowing people to quickly and easily get information about the latest movie showings directly on their watch at a glance,” said Eric Lang, general manager of the Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative at Microsoft. “Customers have asked for this type of content, and we’re thrilled to offer it in time for the holidays.”
    With the new movie channel, subscribers can track up to 10 theaters in their local area and view movie listings and show times directly on their watch. MSN Direct* subscribers can easily glance at their Smart Watch for the next showing of their favorite flick, without having to call the theater, check the newspaper or access a computer. The movie listings are provided by CinemaSource, a division of Hollywood Media Corp.
    The new movie channel complements existing MSN Direct channels, which include news, stocks, weather, sports, horoscopes, daily diversions, personal messages and calendar appointment reminders. Continue At Source

    Posted by bink on October 21 2004, 4:05 PM. Posted in SPOT (MSN Direct).

    Microsoft Corp. and watch maker Swatch are offering a new line of wireless data watches, the companies said yesterday, bringing the era of Dick Tracy wristwatch radios one step closer.

    The watches offer news, sports, weather and stock quotes, among other snippets of content, via Microsoft's MSN Direct wireless data service. Twice the number of information channels of earlier Microsoft-based models are available.

    Known as the "Paparazzi" line, the computerized Swatches also offer local entertainment updates through a deal with publisher Time Out, as well as a chance to meet celebrities.

    The watches come with three levels of service. Each comes with free local weather, news headlines and stock-index levels. For $40 a year, users can receive more weather data, personalized news and sports scores, stock quotes, horoscopes and the like. For $60 annually, they can receive instant messages and calendar reminders from their PC if they use Microsoft Outlook software.

    Microsoft and Swatch began work on watches three years ago.

    "This is a new way of getting information," said Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect.

    Paparazzis retail for $150, or two to three times the cost of conventional watches sold by the Swiss watch maker

  • MSN Direct Scores Home Run With 2004 Professional Baseball Season Content for Smart Watches

    Posted by bink on May 13 2004, 5:54 PM. Posted in SPOT (MSN Direct).

    Microsoft Corp. today added professional baseball season content for 2004 to MSN® Direct’s Sports Channel so subscribers can keep tabs on their favorite pastime while on the go.
    Microsoft also added three new channels to MSN Direct that will allow subscribers to track their astrological future, discover whether those lucky lottery numbers finally have paid off, and even build their vocabulary, simply by glancing at their wrist. On top of the additional content, Microsoft is giving all yearly subscribers a special free offer of three bonus months of MSN Direct service.*
    “Smart Watches are all about letting people choose exactly what they want to see on their wrists,” said Eric Lang, general manager of the Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative at Microsoft. “The combination of the expanded sports content with professional baseball and these new channels gives our subscribers even more information and options, and they can expect continued content enhancements and selections in the future.”
    The new channels complement existing MSN Direct channels, which offer news, stocks, weather and sports information, personal messages and reminders of calendar appointments, and represent the second major expansion of the MSN Direct service since its launch in early January.
    MSN Direct Puts Baseball Information on Subscribers’ Wrists
    With MSN Direct’s 2004 Baseball Season, subscribers can access professional baseball scores, game previews and other content. Provided by ESPN, the content offers baseball lovers the following:
    • Scores. Updates each inning for games in progress*
    • Standings. American and National league division tables
    • Statistics. Wins, losses and saves for pitchers
    • Game information. Start times, television schedules (where available) and pregame stories
    • Alerts. Game-time reminders via Microsoft® Outlook® Calendar**
    New MSN Direct Channels Offer More Fun
    The latest additions give MSN Direct subscribers nine channels from which they can receive customized information. The new channels are these:
    • Daily Diversions. Provides amusing snippets of information from MSN Encarta® encyclopedia, including Born on this Day, This Day in History, Quote of the Day and Word of the Day
    • Lottery. Provides the latest results from state and national lotteries selected by the subscriber (available only in states that offer lotteries)
    • Horoscopes. Offers fun, insightful daily predictions from MSN Astrology
    As with other MSN Direct content, subscribers choose the information they want to receive on their watch by visiting the MSN Direct Web site ( 
  • DirectPop, first 3rd party MSN direct tool

    Posted by bink on March 31 2004, 11:13 PM. Posted in SPOT (MSN Direct).

    DirectPop is a POP3-to-MSN Messenger gateway for shooting short messages to those Microsoft SPOT watches, via email instead of an actual Messenger client. DirectPop uses a keyword validation to prevent just anyone from using it as an open spam relay into your watch. It also has the notable distinction of being the first public release of third-party software for the MSN Direct platform (or so they say--I can think of at least a couple other homebrew projects). It also happens to be donationware, and if you can afford to buy a watch that can receive email, you can afford to give him a dollar.Read - DirectPop Inteview  Read - Project Page
  • Microsoft-Based Timepieces: Watch Out!

    Posted by bink on March 4 2004, 5:34 PM. Posted in SPOT (MSN Direct).

    'Smart' watches may not be as smart as they think they are.

    The wristwatch I usually wear has been telling time--accurately and attractively--since 1939. What it doesn't do is deliver data wirelessly to my wrist. That is the promise of two new "smart watches" featuring Microsoft's MSN Direct service. Yet the preproduction Fossil Wrist Net and the shipping Sunnto N3 I tried proved so impractical that I quickly strapped my trusty Hamilton back on.

    MSN Direct service, which costs $59 per year, piggybacks on FM radio signals in 100 U.S. and Canadian markets to broadcast bite-size chunks of news, weather, and other timely information. You can also view your desktop Outlook calendar and receive messages sent from the Microsoft MSN Messenger client.

    However, gleaning that data takes more than a glance, as both watches have murky monochrome screens and unwieldy interfaces driven by five unmarked buttons.

    Charge times aren't great: The Fossil's batteries are rated to last two to four days; the Suunto's, from six to eight. And if you leave your home city, you need to reconfigure your watch on the Web to continue to receive your personalized data. Also, MSN Messenger messages are one-way, meaning you can't reply.

    Still intrigued? The water-resistant Suunto's strong suit is its compact charger, which draws juice from an AC outlet or a PC's USB port. But this hefty watch comes with an equally hefty price tag of $299.

    Fossil's $179 Wrist Net--also marketed in computer stores as the Abacus Wrist Net for just $129--recharges on a bulky docking station that's a pain to travel with. Still, I found it more tolerable than the Suunto, owing to its more-legible screen. Until smart watches get a lot smarter, though, my wrist will remain a Microsoft-free zone.