Feeds

Microsoft dusts off Smart Objects

Run SPOT, Run

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
What's the nature of your emergency, Vodafone?
Oh, you've dialled the wrong number for ad fibs, rules ASA
EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder
Carrier is 'aware' of cockup, working on a fix NOW
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?