SPOT, Back to The Future of The Microsoft Smartphone

SPOT It is one of those tests that every technology has its time and that, if you arrive late do not you succeed, but if you arrive too early either. The latter is what happened to Microsoft with a so-called platform Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) which began to develop there by 2002, when smart watches today both are spoken of were hardly a future.

SPOT was abandoned in 2008 because of his lack of success. However, recent rumours from the Wall Street Journal are running in Redmond that you are working in a touch smart clock. Reheated dishes not often succeed in technology, but the possibility of Microsoft to remove its own clock revives the ghosts of SPOT, a project that should be granted that had its point.

On the back of the FM Radio

In essence, SPOT was a platform designed to provide services connected to other devices. Its first application were Smart Watches whose debut was the footballer Bill Gates at CES in 2003, but the platform was much more ambitious and even emerged prototypes of coffee, GPS and weather stations SPOT.

SPOT watches were receiving data relating to weather, news, stock exchange or sports. They also enabled messaging to some extent. All this came packaged through a service called MSN Direct that operated on frequencies of FM radio. Service required subscription and your price was of 59 dollars a year.

Using radio limited the effectiveness of SPOT to the metropolitan areas of the United States, but it was an interesting alternative to telephone networks. Broadband was a minor, but to change consuming very little energy.

Its own hardware and software

SPOT was not based on any version of Windows because the hardware that would have been necessary to move even a Windows CE was excessive. Instead, a dedicated Department called Microsoft SmartBand Services developed its own Chipset and its own operating system.

SPOT chipset was equipped with a FM radio transmitter on the 100 MHz band, a 27.6MHz ARM-7 processor, 512 KB of ROM and 384 KB of RAM. All this may seem little, but the Sistem on Chip SPOT was designed to minimize power consumption. The battery is one of the weaknesses of many current smart watches and if any device of this kind is destined to succeed, I don’t think that it is one that has to load every day next to the smartphone.

Microsoft developed its own operating system based on architecture .NET and created a few small chips of 32 contacts that were part of the Development Kit to that third they could create different uses and applications on the platform. SPOT came to be marketed in different watches from brands such as Tissot, Fossil, Suunto or Swatch, but their prices were high and failed to succeed more than some ‘early adopters’.


Do you have future SPOT? That’s a good question. It seems unlikely that a new OS was specialized to succeed in today’s market, and to do so, would require you more than SPOT was able to do.

Rumors suggest a display of 1,5 inch for the hypothetical new Microsoft Watch. Of course no shortage of speculation around the Windows Phone UI design, but there is no tangible data and any image that you see here is only a concept. If Microsoft finally used their mobile OS will need good power to move it and a color screen to take advantage of all its possibilities.

On the other side, a screen OLED black and white could show Windows Phone interface quite effectively without incurring an excessive spending. These hypothetical watches connectivity is another unknown that Microsoft should meet and decide whether they are just satellites of a connected through, for example, Bluetooth device of low consumption, or able to connect themselves accessories.

Whatever it is, and even if the project were unsuccessful, SPOT grants to Microsoft at least some experience in smart watches and technical data about its performance and acceptance. If that precedent leading to the Redmond or not success is another story.