Microsoft also announced it is expanding its footprint in the navigation market by working for the first time with a host of manufacturers including Alpine Electronics Inc., dmedia System Co. Ltd., Goodyear, Pioneer Electronics Inc. and StreetDeck. Garmin Ltd., MSN Direct’s original navigation partner, also announced that it will expand its MSN Direct-enabled product line in 2008. In addition, Avis Rent a Car System LLC announced that MSN Direct-enabled devices from Garmin will be available to its national fleet of rental cars this spring.
“In this past year we have seen a tremendous response to the MSN Direct service from many top leaders in the navigation industry — ranging from personal navigation device-makers and in-car system manufacturers to the top brands in the rental car field,” said Eric Lang, general manager of the MSN Direct initiative at Microsoft. “This strong interest is indicative of the always-on, timely information that customers are craving while they are on the go. We know the types of information that consumers want, and we are pleased to provide a way for our partners to continue to innovate their existing product lines and bring added value through MSN Direct.”
MSN Direct Equips Consumers With Location-Specific Information on the Go
With this latest version of MSN Direct, a new Send to GPS functionality enables customers to select and save destinations using Live Search Maps and send to personal navigation devices enabled with the latest version of the service. Customers can receive information on stock prices, local events, news headlines and weather. The service also provides enhanced movie details, gas prices and expanded traffic information for the U.S. and Canada. Specifically, MSN Direct has added traffic information for the Canadian cities of Toronto, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Montreal; expanded coverage in Fort Pierce, Fla.; Olympia, Wash.; and Fort Collins, Colo.; and will soon enhance coverage in Kansas City, Mo.; and Boston and Cape Cod, Mass.*
Microsoft Showcases New Products From Alpine, Garmin and StreetDeck
Alpine Electronics’ new, portable PND-K3msn provides fast, accurate and easy-to-use navigation guidance for the U.S. and Canada and will be available in spring 2008 for an estimated retail price of $650 (U.S).** As a device enabled with the latest version of MSN Direct, it is equipped with instant up-to-date information, including current stock prices, information on local events, news headlines, and enhanced movie details and showtimes, in addition to traffic information, gas prices and weather.
The Garmin® nüvi® 780 and Garmin nüvi 880 with MSN Direct will be released in spring 2008, and will be available for $799.99 (U.S.)** and $999.99**. Both devices include the MSN Direct receiver out of the box. Also new to Garmin’s lineup, the Garmin nüvi 5000 is MSN Direct-enabled and the receiver is sold separately. The Garmin nüvi 5000 will be available for $799.99 (U.S.)** in the spring. With the new Send to GPS functionality, customers can select and save destinations using Live Search Maps and then access the information on their MSN Direct-enabled personal navigation devices. These new devices intelligently route drivers based on the latest traffic conditions while conveniently displaying information on the latest news, local events, weather, gas prices, movies and more.
“The enhanced capabilities of the MSN Direct network combined with our navigation devices give power to people on the go,” said Cliff Pemble, president and chief operating officer of Garmin. “Whether users are dodging traffic jams or checking out the stock market, MSN Direct provides valuable, timely information.”
StreetDeck announced plans to integrate a touch-screen interface with MSN Direct in a new Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) as an aftermarket, MSN Direct-enabled navigation unit. Designed to reduce driver distraction and leverage the power and convenience of UMPC, the touch-screen interface allows for simple navigation and access to information through MSN Direct.
Navigation Manufacturers Announce Plans for MSN Direct
Avis announced that it will be the first car rental company to offer MSN Direct-enabled navigation devices. Beginning in March, Avis customers can rent Where2™, a portable GPS navigation device based on Garmin’s nüvi 780. The device receives relevant and timely traffic and weather information, news headlines, stock prices, Amber Alerts and movie listings via MSN Direct, ideal for helping make business travel more productive and leisure travel more convenient.
dmedia announced the MSN Direct-enabled G4 product line, which will introduce a new level of service to an expanding line of portable navigation devices. These new models are expected to be available in spring 2008, combining all the MSN Direct content with the latest technology from dmedia.
Pioneer announced it plans to release the AVIC-F500BT, a hybrid navigation technology that brings the power of an in-dash device with the convenience of a portable system, with MSN Direct. Designed to integrate with virtually any factory audio system, the AVIC-F500BT will provide the opportunity for consumers to add superior navigation features and extended entertainment capabilities without modification of their existing car stereo.
Goodyear announced plans to include the MSN Direct service as built in with two of its new personal navigation devices and enabled through a charger with two additional models.