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Watchmaker Jot’s One Down for Wrist PDA

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Ever since the comic book hero Dick Tracy first strapped on his amazing wrist radio six decades ago, science fiction fans have eagerly anticipated the day when such a gadget might become reality.

Fossil Inc. Tuesday took one step closer to the future by agreeing to license handwriting recognition technology from Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Communication Intelligence Corporation (CIC). .

Under the terms of the agreement, Fossil will said it will bundle CIC’s JotComplete with every unit of its new Wrist PDA products. The devices, expected to debut this summer, act like a wristwatch as well as running features and functions of any Palm Powered device. Fossil said it will plans on launching the Wrist PDA with Palm OS under two brands, Fossil and Abacus, a new tech brand that targets the electronics distribution.

“The WRIST PDA’s smaller form factor places greater demands on simple, unrestricted text entry capabilities,” Fossil Vice President of Technology Donald Brewer said.

JotComplete includes an intelligent, dictionary-based word completion utility that decreases text entry time by allowing the completion of a word after entering only a few characters. The software also lets users write a ‘T’ as a ‘T’ and not an upside-down ‘L’, as is the case with systems that use Graffiti handwriting recognition technology.

The technology also recognizes both English and Roman-based European characters in English, French, Italian, German Spanish and Japanese languages.

“Targeted for domestic and international distribution, Fossil has constructed a user interface convention with a feature set that we believe will be met with instant acceptance and usability worldwide,” said CIC chairman and CEO Guido DiGregorio.

CIC’s marketing partners include Palm Solutions Group, Handspring, PDA software marketer Handango and Elibrium, a publisher of productivity software. PalmSource recently inked a deal to use Jot in current versions of its Palm OS platform as an alternative to Graffiti.

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