LAS VEGAS — Jan. 8, 2007 — Today at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft Corp.’s Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) Group announced the availability of MSN® Direct navigation services and announced that Garmin International Inc. will be the first to offer the new MSN Direct service to Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. Customers will be able to receive dynamic local information, including weather condition and traffic updates, movies listings, and gas prices.
Microsoft SPOT also announced plans to work with future versions of Microsoft® Streets & Trips and Pharos Science & Applications Inc. to offer MSN Direct Navigation Services to their devices. In addition, Microsoft SPOT is working with Centrality Communications Inc. to integrate MSN Direct with its GPS reference designs, one built around Centrality’s Atlas-III processor and a second one for the higher-end multimedia Titan processor.
The MSN Direct service is delivered through Microsoft’s DirectBand™ Network, a cost-effective and power-efficient system for wide-area wireless data delivery that covers more than 70 percent of the U.S. population.* The network transmits content every two minutes to enable consumers to receive current and relevant information while on the go.
“Our network is ideally suited for delivering a wide variety of personalized location-based services at a low cost to the mobile consumer. We are proud to be working with industry leaders to continue the evolution of the SPOT vision of making everyday objects smarter through technology,” said Eric Lang, general manager of the SPOT initiative at Microsoft. “We are showing new and exciting technologies and devices at CES this year, and are pleased to have greatly enhanced and expanded our suite of products.”
Microsoft Shows New Garmin Products, Reveals Plans to Work With Other GPS Device Leaders
The Garmin® nüvi® 680 with MSN Direct and the Street Pilot® c580 with MSN Direct will be released in the coming months, and will be available for $999 (U.S.) and $799,** respectively. The products come with a one-year subscription to MSN Direct, which offers updates about traffic conditions, weather conditions and forecasts, fuel prices, and even movie times and locations right on the GPS screen.
The nüvi 680 with MSN Direct features include voice-prompted, turn-by-turn GPS navigation, Bluetooth® wireless technology for hands-free calling, travel guide books, a language translator, MP3 player, audio book player, currency and measurement converter, world clock, and digital photo organizer. All information is displayed on the nüvi 680’s large, 4.3-inch touch screen. In addition, turn-by-turn instructions are automatically calculated; the custom road preference allows user to prioritize their choice of back roads or major highways, automatic off-route recalculation shows how to get back on track if a turn or exit is missed, and a detour function enables routing around traffic problems or road construction.
The StreetPilot c580 features Bluetooth wireless technology with hands-free calling, an integrated traffic receiver, MP3 player and much more.
“We are pleased to be working with Microsoft, as we believe we can now offer a superior product that not only gives people driving directions, but can also provide new location-specific data that can impact users’ daily commute or trip,” said Dan Bartel, vice president of worldwide sales for Garmin. “The MSN Direct content allows us to expand our existing product line to enhance the consumer experience with new and exciting applications and tools.”
Microsoft SPOT Showcases Its Expanded Product Suite
At its booth at CES 2007, the Microsoft SPOT Group showed the latest MSN Direct products, including the following:
Oregon Scientific Inc.’s WeatherNow I and WeatherNow II weather stations with MSN Direct. These stations receive regional weather information without the use of outdoor sensors. Users simply plug it in to receive regional wind, rain, temperature and humidity information. The WeatherNow devices also receive National Weather Service warning information.
The Melitta Smart Mill & Brew coffee maker with MSN Direct. This coffee maker not only grinds and brews great coffee without the guesswork or mess, it also displays animated weather information including current temperature and conditions, high and low temperatures, and chance of precipitation, as well as four-day weather forecasts.
The Abacus Smart Watch 2006 with MSN Direct. The Abacus Smart Watch 2006 features five watchband styles and twice the storage capacity and speed of previous Smart Watches. Like all Smart Watches, it delivers personalized information such as sports scores, stock quotes, calendar appointments, personal messages and more with just a glance at the wrist.
Leading Companies Show Products Based on the Microsoft .NET Micro Framework
In addition at CES, the .NET Micro Framework Group, which grew out of the SPOT initiative, showed products based on this development platform. Products include Windows Vista™ SideShow™ devices (an ASUS in-lid laptop, companion device and media center remote) and home automation products, featuring Leviton Manufacturing Co.’s Ethernet gateway and ControlThink LC software. In the coming months, more commercial products based on the .NET Micro Framework will be shipped, including everything from deeply embedded, headless applications to richly graphical and inexpensive displays.
About MSN Direct
MSN Direct, part of the Smart Personal Objects Technology initiative, is a specialized wireless service that delivers customized and personalized information to people. Those interested in learning more about MSN Direct can visit http://www.msndirect.com.
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