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Pocket Computers
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  • What's new in my pocket computers pages?

    Friday, October 15th : Ricoh RDC i-700 received
    Device securised this morning! No page for it yet; will be one some day.

    Wednesday, September 15th : Sharp MI-10 added
    Created a page for the Sharp MI-10 i've received.

    Friday, July 23rd : new homepage, new machines listed
    My collection reached 49 units yesterday as i've received 2 new watches. Added them to the list (no pages yet) and changed the homepage to a weblog format.

    This feature will soon be available

    Fossil Palm OS Wrist PDA
    PalmOS compatible wrist watch
    I'm sorry, but I will not reply to user manual requests or to dealer location inquiries anymore.

    Please read my FAQ page that might help you if you have any of these questions in mind.
    Feel free to contact me for any other question or comment regarding this machine!

    Special features :
    - a palm OS PDA in a wristwatch!

    Weak points :
    - the battery life is a joke *

    * some say, but haven't tested myself

    Related machines in my collection :
    Early touch-screen graphic display watch from Casio:
    Casio VDB-1000
    "PC" computer watch :
    Seiko Ruputer

    Early advanced databank watche from Seiko :
    Seiko DATA-2000

    Page under construction.

    To be honest, i must that i didn't know anything about Fossil before i had read about their PalmOS watch project.
    Announced some time around 2001, then postponed, then announced again, and again postponed, the Palm OS watch project finally saw the light of day in early 2005 as the PalmOS Wrist PDA.
    At the time, Fossil had made a (not so good?) reputation with watches based on the SPOT data network developped by Microsoft. These watches were seen by most as useless gadgets, and i bet the reputation also stuck to the Palm OS project even before the watch was released.
    As if it was not enough, by the time the product was released, many things had changed since it had been first announced in the very early 2000's. Facing windowsCE, PalmOS, mostly, was not as "hype" as it used to be... And it was said long before the product was released that it suffered from ridiculously low battery life, thus explaining the numerous delays in bringing it to the market.
    It was also clear that the watch would not be able to support the latest PalmOS version, and that it would consequently have to run older, deprecated OS.

    All of this was true! When Fossil released the watch, despite the 3 or 4 different design it came in (this was novelty compared to the prototypes), the watch came with a moderately exciting PalmOS version 4.1 (Palm OS 5 existed at the time), and the battery life, if not as limited as rumors had it, was not long enough to convince potential buyers.
    From return of experience i've heard, the watch can run up to 2 days on full charge, although i cannot say how much battery consumption depends on the use of the advanced PDA features. I really should check all that myself and test the watch i have!
    Basically, the battery has to be dealt with just like with a PDA, not like as watch : this may have been a psychological barrier in potential buyer's mind.

    This watch remains an interesting step in pocket/wearable computing, however. At the approximate same time when it was first announced, IBM was also working on a Linux-powered wrist watch prototype (never to be released), and the Ruputer from Seiko had already proven that it was technically possible to release a graphical OS computer the size of a wristwatch. Fossil pushed the idea a little further, by implementing a standard PDA OS in a watch. Neither of those were able to overcome power consumption issues, which made both products commercially unsuccessful.
    They are both, however, nice examples of the evolution of pocket computing!

    Processor : Dragonball Super VZ - 66Mhz (apparently running at 40MHz or so) OS : Palm OS 4.1
    RAM : 8 MB ROM : 2 MB (not flash)
    Graphic display : 160 x 160 Text display : variable fonts
    Display : 16 grey Input : touch screen (stylus), Graffiti 2 + virtual keyboard

    Built-in Applications :
    Address book, datebook/agenda, to do list, notepad; several "screen savers" (watch mode skins) Open to other applications : Yes, Palm OS 4.1 compatible applications
    Ports :
    1 USB, 1 IR