Microsoft unveils optimised sat-nav OS

Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 is one of Redmond's first embedded operating systems to be optimised for a specific category of device

Microsoft has released Windows Embedded NavReady 2009, its first embedded operating system to be specifically optimised for manufacturers of portable navigation devices.

Redmond unveiled the system, which is one of its first category-specific embedded operating systems, on Monday. The other Microsoft OS that has been specifically optimised in this way is Windows Embedded POSReady, for point-of-sale devices. POSReady is scheduled for release next year.

According to Microsoft, NavReady should help developers and manufacturers "quickly bring to market smart, connected, service-oriented portable navigation devices that easily connect to online services, Bluetooth-capable mobile phones, Windows-based PCs and the internet".

Features include Live Search capabilities, which ties into Microsoft's online mapping service, and links to MSN Direct for "traffic alerts and fuel prices", Microsoft said. Devices based on NavReady can also be used as a secondary screen for many Vista PCs that have Windows Sideshow functionality.

"Windows Embedded powers a substantial share of the portable navigation devices in the market," said the general manager of the Windows Embedded division at Microsoft, Kevin Dallas, on Monday. "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."

The operating system is based on Windows Embedded CE, and is available for download from Microsoft's website.