Microsoft Going After GPS with NavReady 2009S

Microsoft has announced an entirely new software platform for personal navigation devices, Windows Embedded NavReady 2009. Whereas companies generally program proprietary software for GPS units, Microsoft is now offering software for the hardware—similar to what Windows is to the PC. Featuring maps based upon Live Search along with Bluetooth, MSN Direct and SideShow functionality, the software could bring a lot of PC connectivity options to otherwise autonomous GPSs, as well as increase the number of companies willing to compete in the hardware side of the navigation market.

Here's all the info from Microsoft:

Microsoft Introduces First Embedded Operating System Optimized Specifically for Portable Navigation Device (PND) Manufacturers

Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 provides a platform enabling original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to quickly build next-generation connected PNDs.

REDMOND, Wash. - June 16, 2008 - Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of Windows Embedded NavReady 2009, Microsoft's first embedded operating system designed specifically for OEMs building handheld portable navigation devices (PNDs). Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 delivers innovative technologies to help developers and OEMs quickly bring to market smart, connected, service-oriented PNDs that easily connect to online services, mobile phones using Bluetooth, Windows-based PCs and the Internet. Based on Windows Embedded CE, Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 builds upon a decade of experience and success that the Windows Embedded Business has achieved by helping developers and OEMs simplify the development, user experience and maintenance of their PND designs.

"As demand for personal navigation devices continues to increase, and existing owners look to upgrade from their original devices, original equipment manufacturers must continue to innovate and enhance their products with features that will attract a variety of users," said Chris Jones, Canalys vice president and principal analyst. "Personal navigation solutions will increasingly become connected, which will open up new opportunities to add value through the delivery of dynamic information and location-based services. But this is a highly competitive market and it is important that businesses like Windows Embedded help OEMs and others bring these rich devices to market quickly and efficiently."

Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 Key Features

This release also provides a number of benefits that can help developers and OEMs quickly bring to market new scenarios in which the PND connects to other devices and online services. Features include the following:

Live Search delivers OEMs and partners key elements enabling Internet-based Live Search on devices to find up-to-date points of interest similar to the ones provided by the Live Search Maps service.

Bluetooth technologies enable OEMs to provide rich, hands-free scenarios to users with the following profiles: Hands Free, Pairing Service, Phone Book Access, Advanced Audio Distribution, Audio and Video Remote Control, Dial Up Networking and Bluetooth Connection Manager. Users will be able to use their PND device as a hands-free device to make phone calls or data connections when the device is paired with a compatible phone enabled with Bluetooth.

MSN Direct enables OEMs to incorporate MSN Direct technologies. These technologies can reduce users' commute time while enhancing the travel experience by providing up-to-date information such as traffic alerts and fuel prices.

Windows SideShow functionality helps enable the PND as a secondary display screen for many Windows Vista-based PCs*, allowing Windows SideShow gadgets to interact and exchange information with the PND and providing a rich user experience at home or work.

"As a leading designer and manufacturer of portable navigation devices we have relied on Windows Embedded CE as a proven real-time operating system for our Mio product line," said Samuel Wang, president of Mio Technology Corp. "With the launch of Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 and the introduction of features including Live Search, MSN Direct and Bluetooth capabilities, we are looking forward to bringing our next-generation PNDs to market with a richer end-user experience and in a reduced timeframe."

"Windows Embedded powers many of the portable navigation devices in the marketplace," said Kevin Dallas, general manager of the Windows Embedded Business at Microsoft. "Our commitment to this segment has always been about providing the platform and tools that give our OEM partners the most innovative technologies while reducing the complexity of development. We firmly believe the release of Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 helps us fulfill this promise by taking the PND experience to the next level. Adopting Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 today will allow device-makers and solution providers to focus on innovation while bringing smart, connected, service-oriented portable navigation devices to market in time for the 2008 holiday retail season and beyond."

With the addition of the Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 solution, Windows Embedded now presents two device category-specific offerings: Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 and Windows Embedded POSReady. Windows Embedded POSReady, the next generation of Windows Embedded for Point of Service, is scheduled to ship in 2009.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

* Works with Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate.