Microsoft announces ‘WiENR’ system for GPS devices

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Microsoft will be making a move into the portable GPS space with what it’s calling Windows Embedded NavReady 2009. Should companies like TomTom and Garmin be scared? We’ll see. Windows Live Maps is a pretty good service, I suppose.

It’ll be more than just maps, though, as WiENR 2009 (as I’ll call it) will also do some Bluetooth tricks, harness MSN Direct services for traffic and gas prices, and will even be Windows SideShow compatible for those times you’ve… um… got your laptop turned on and connected to the Internet while you’re driving. Sounds safe!

Here are some of the main features, according to Microsoft

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.

So nothing truly groundbreaking, except for the SideShow thing. It’ll be interesting to see how that’s implemented, though. The part about the “rich user experience at home or work” leads me to believe that you’ll set your portable navigation device up on your desk like a Chumby and then take it to your car when it’s time to drive.

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