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Review – Fossil Wrist PDA

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The biggest piece of vaporware since Windows Longhorn has finally hit the street: the Fossil Wrist PDA. Yes, it’s here, dropping mad science on all you geeks out there.

What’s inside?

  • 8MB of storage space.
  • The full Palm OS 4.12
  • A 66Mhz processor.
  • A painfully small stylus in the clasp.
  • A mini-USB port for data transfer.
  • An IR port.

    I’ve been wearing it off an on for the past two days and I haven’t quite gotten a handle on the goal that Fossil has with this piece. While it is an impressive bit of machinery, the PDA, especially considering the rise of PIM in phones and other network-enabled devices, seems like a poor choice. However, in terms of sheer geekery, it’s a real winner.

    The screen is eminently readable and the digitizer works beautifully, althought the stylus is a bit small. The style is very retro, with a big metal body and black leather strap and it has a very comfortable wrist feel. It is quite heavy, a few ounces at least, and, like SPOT watches, you have a choice of very nice, downloadable faces.

    I have my entire calender and address book in this thing, if you can believe it, and still haven’t filled up the memory. The navigation is simple. On the left, there is a Home button which drops you out of any application and can launch the backlight. On the right, at 1 o’clock, there is a Page Up button, then a three way rocker button which launches applications when pressed. Then there is a Down button. Not much else.

    Yes, Virginia, you do have to recharge this beast every two days, at least. But you’ll be syncing it regularly with your desktop PIM, so that’s at least acceptable. I will wear it out today, using it as my sole appointment calendar, and give you the skinny.

    UPDATE – I can now legitimately say that this is one of the best PDAs I’ve ever used. It reminds me of my numerous CES appointments with a calming chime, keeps my contacts organized, and lets me jot tiny notes to myself with ease. Once you get over a few small UI issues and the ultimate smallness of the screen, the Wrist PDA really grows on you.

    As Fossil and PalmOne begin to work together on this thing, I can really see a huge number of tiny apps that will turn this watch into a must-have geek tool: tip calculator, world time clock, and a “Today” watch face featuring calendar and to-do list entires would be ideal.

    UPDATE – Well, my watch just crashed. A quick reset brought it back to life, but it’s kind of funny to have to reboot my timepiece. When’s the last time your Omega showed the Blue Screen of Death?

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