I am probably one of the few who actually bought a SPOT watch and have been paying for the yearly service since they were launched back in 2004. I found the technology interesting, but it took a year or so for the watches to evolve into something smaller and more fashionable that people would wear. Even then, the service never took off and I actually never saw anyone wearing one that wasn't a gadget geek like myself. According to a post on SpotStop made by Jon Canan, Program Manager of MSN Direct, Microsoft and its partners are getting out of the SPOT watch business (Thanks to the::unwired for the link.). They will still be supporting the MSN Direct service and if you have a watch you can continue to receive service, but there will be no new channels added or other enhancements to the watches.
It seems that all watches have been sold out, so my Dick Tracy model, CES Commemorative model, and other SPOT watches are now a part of geek history. Unfortunately, the Abacus Smart Watch 2006 that I preferred to use died a couple of months ago and will not recharge no matter what I try. My other favorite, the Suunto N3HR, has issues with the buttons registering presses so I am using my Dick Tracy wrist weight when I want to use SPOT. I actually rarely wear mine anymore, but do pull them out from time-to-time since I do find the glanceable nature of their operation helpful at times.
Microsoft recently launched MSN Direct for Windows Mobile (I wrote about it here.) so there is less need for carrying a SPOT watch. I do think that having MSN Direct services in products like GPS devices makes a lot of sense and hope to see more products like this in the future.
Anyone else have any stories or experiences using SPOT watches?