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Microsoft unveils first OS for portable navigation devices

Adds Web-friendly features to GPS handhelds

By Dan Nystedt
June 17, 2008 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Microsoft Corp. today introduced its first embedded operating system for portable devices that use GPS and maps to get people where they want to go.

Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 is aimed at companies building handheld electronic navigation devices and includes several features to make them Web-friendly, such as easy connections to online services and the Internet, as well as links to mobile phones via Bluetooth, and to Windows-based PCs.

The aim of the new operating system is to spread the popularity of portable navigation devices (PND) by adding or enhancing new features such as Internet connectivity and services. PNDs are among the hottest electronic devices this year.

Microsoft included Live Search in the new operating system to help people find points of interest on their devices, similar to Microsoft's Live Search Maps service.

People whose mobile phones contain Bluetooth technology will be able to pair them with new NavReady 2009-based PNDs for hands-free phone book access, audio and video remote control, and dial-up networking, and for making hands-free phone calls and data connections.

The operating system also syncs to MSN Direct for updates on traffic conditions and gas prices, Microsoft said.

The operating system also allows navigation devices to be used as secondary display screens for many mobile PCs using the Windows Vista operating system with a Microsoft technology called SideShow. Users may be able to connect their PND to their laptop and access information from the device without having to boot up.

The operating system is based on Windows Embedded CE, which has been around for more than a decade.

Taiwan's Mio Technology plans to use Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 in its next line of Mio GPS devices. The name of Microsoft's new operating system also works well for Mio. The company bought the handheld business of New Zealand company Navman last year. Earlier this year, Mio stopped using the Navman name in most markets, except for a few places where the name is strong, including Australia, New Zealand, Spain and the U.K.

Mio said it expected Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 to help it create and deliver new products faster.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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