Microsoft to launch internet ‘smart’ watch

The company plans this fall to introduce a service, called MSN Direct, that will stream weather reports, stock quotes, sports scores, and other information to digital “smart” watches over FM radio waves to users in about 100 North American cities, including Boston. The service will cost $9.95 a month, or $59 a year, the company said yesterday.

MSN Direct is the latest example of the efforts by Microsoft, the world’s largest maker of software for personal computers, to extend its software into a wide range of devices.

The service will work initially on special digital watches by Fossil Inc. and Suunto Corp., a Finnish watchmaker, that run a Microsoft operating system. But through an initiative that Microsoft calls Smart Personal Objects Technology, or SPOT, other simple yet wirelessly connected devices such as key chains and alarm clocks are expected to follow.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates first showed off prototypes of the wristwatch service in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Microsoft said it has signed licensing deals with companies such as Clear Channel Communications Inc. that control the low end of the FM radio spectrum in more than 100 metropolitan markets in North America. Microsoft will stream the information to watches across those radio waves.

Customers interested in receiving information on such a small screen as a watch face will be able to visit a Microsoft website to choose the information they want delivered. Choices will include news headlines, restaurant listings, movie listings, and traffic updates. Microsoft would not say yesterday which content providers it would use.

Other features include time updates when the watch enters a new time zone, synchronization with Microsoft’s Outlook calendar program for appointment reminders, and the ability to receive, but not send, instant messages from Microsoft’s MSN Messenger program. America Online’s instant messaging program won’t work, and only people approved by the user in advance can send messages, the company said.

“You won’t be getting spam to your watch,” said Cindy Spodek Dickey, a group program manager in Microsoft’s SPOT group.

Source: Boston Globe

Product Review

LG Gram 14 proves 2-in-1 laptops don’t need to sacrifice battery for light weight

The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 aims to be very light for a laptop that converts to a tablet. And it is. But it doesn’t skimp on the battery, and so it lasts a very long time on a charge.
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.

Hotel bots, Autonomous hotels, Brainscans, Comedians, A robot named Marty

On today's podcast we're joined by comedians Jeremiah Coughlan and Tyler Boeh! We'll take a look at the use of 'future technology' that is is about to be deployed soon. From automobiles, to grocery store assistants, to a japanese hotel that…

Microsoft CEO says Project xCloud is the ‘Netflix for games’

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella referred to the company's Project xCloud game streaming service as "Netflix for games." The service will let users play Xbox and PC games on a variety of devices.

Keep up-to-date with the best news apps on iPhone and Android

Are the days of traditional newspapers and broadcast news dwindling? With apps this good, maybe. Catch up on the latest headlines on any platform with the best news apps on iOS and Android.

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.

AMD Radeon VII will support DLSS-like upscaling developed by Microsoft

AMD's Radeon VII has shown promise with early tests of an open DLSS-like technology developed by Microsoft called DirectML. It would provide similar upscale features, but none of the locks on hardware choice.

The Asus ZenBook 13 offers more value and performance than Apple's MacBook Air

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is the latest in that company's excellent "budget" laptop line, and it looks and feels better than ever. How does it compare to Apple's latest MacBook Air?

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.

Cortana wants to be friends with Alexa and Google Assistant

Microsoft no longer wants to compete against Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant in the digital assistant space. Instead, it wants to transform Cortana into a skill that can be integrated into other digital assistants.

Microsoft leans on A.I. to resume safe delivery of Windows 10 Update

Microsoft is leaning on artificial intelligence as it resumes the automatic rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. You should start seeing the update soon now that Microsoft has resolved problems with the initial software.

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.

It's not all free money. Here's what to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money, and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.