by Alex Nabaum

You bet. But first, a primer: Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) is a service from Microsoft that uses FM radio waves to send personalized text feeds-including news, stock quotes, weather, movie listings, appointments and instant messages-to SPOT-enabled wristwatches. A number of models are available from Suunto, Swatch, Tissot and others (see for a full list).

I’ve had a SPOT watch (two, actually, plus one for my wife) since their debut in 2004, and I love it. My only complaint is that the data channels are limited to what Microsoft serves-SPOT is a closed system, so home-brew techies can’t make their own feeds.

But you can see when you have new Gmail messages and even read e-mail and RSS feeds by downloading applications that fool the watch into thinking it’s getting instant messages. One word of caution: The MSN service for SPOT limits you to 100 messages a month, and if you go over, it simply stops delivering them. Here are the best apps: