Feeds

Microsoft dusts off Smart Objects

Run SPOT, Run

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Microsoft has managed to convince Garmin to embed SPOT technology into some of their GPS devices, while also expanding their transmission network with Clear Channel to broadcast SPOT content over their HD Radio network.

Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) was a service launched by Microsoft back in 2003 when they managed to convince several brands of wristwatch that their MSN Direct service was the way of the future. Fossil, Swatch and Tissot were amongst those who fell for the spiel and launched watches with little screens to display broadcast information. All have since quietly dropped their SPOT products as the market turned out not to exist.

But while most of us had forgotten SPOT, it seems Microsoft has just been waiting for the right application, and by integrating the technology into GPS devices they might have made a very clever move. Users of GPS, by definition, want local information, and Microsoft intends to broadcast traffic updates, cinema listings and even the price of petrol locally.

The current MSN Direct network covers about 70 per cent of the US population, though that will significantly increase with the announced Clear Channel deal. The HD Radio network is digital radio, with spare bandwidth for programming information; and it is this spare bandwidth which be utilised by Microsoft for their next generation of SPOT devices which they hope will be available to 90 per cent of the US population by the end of 2008.

Initial GPS devices from Garmin will use the existing network, and be out in the next few months. Microsoft are working with other manufacturers to embed the technology in both reference designs and products, as well as looking anywhere else such broadcasts might be of value. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Comcast exec: No, we haven't banned Tor. I use it. You're probably using it
Keep in mind if, say, your Onion browser craps out on Xfinity
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.