TIMEX’S WIRELESS WRIST
Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg
NEW YORK — Timex is steering clear of the “Get Smart” route, with its new Internet Messenger watch.
Through a partnership with Motorola and SkyTel, Timex has introduced a watch that allows wearers to receive e-mail, news headlines, weather reports, sports scores and stock quotes without looking as conspicuous as Maxwell Smart.
Sleeker, more stylish and about 30 percent smaller than the Timex Beepwear Pager watch, another version with Web features, the Internet Messenger will retail for about $100 — $50 less than BeepWear. There will also be monthly fees for ancillary services.
Timex has loaded up its Ironman Triathlon model, a watch designed to help hard-core athletes keep pace, with the Internet services. Three styles will be offered initially.
The Messenger begins shipping to 10,000 mass-market and consumer-electronic stores next month, said Phil Brzezinski, president of wrist instruments group at Timex.
To activate the Internet service, Messenger wearers log on to the Web with a computer to get wireless Internet feeds from any of the many Web sites that offer them. News junkies will be able to personalize incoming information, by noting their favorite subject matters like politics or business. They can also specify if their interests are local, national or international. Sports fans can follow their favorite teams with updated scores or late-breaking news, or skiers could track snow reports.
The watch also has a pager that can store up to 16 e-mail, numeric or word messages. Musical chimes or vibrations are used to alert the wearer to an incoming message. SkyTel is the sole provider of the Internet Messenger’s wireless services.
Timex wanted to offer a silent alert since so many restaurants are clamping down on the use of cell phones, Brzezinski said.
“We’ve attacked the problems consumers had with the Beepwear wrist pager, which was primarily its size and styling,” he said. “With the Messenger, most people wouldn’t necessarily realize that you’re reading your e-mail or checking a stock.”
Even Agent 99.