Javnozon says that by making it easier for developers to add Internet access to their GPS devices, NavReady will enable two-way communication and ensure that the very latest information is retrieved. “It allows you to search for points of interest directly on the Internet within a Windows Live database,” he says.
“In Europe, about 20 percent of drivers already have some form of navigational device, while in the U.S., it’s more like 10 percent,” says Chris Jones, a principal analyst with Canalys, in Reading, England. The market for automotive GPS devices is expanding rapidly, Jones says, but NavReady will likely spur innovation and competition. For example, although some high-end products on the market already have Internet and Bluetooth functions, he says, NavReady should make these features fast become the norm.
Similarly, other applications are likely to emerge from the increased connectivity of GPS devices, such as location-based social networking, says Wheelock.
Although launched this week, NavReady is currently available only to device makers. So we shouldn’t expect devices that use it to hit the market until 2009. And when they do, don’t expect any kind of familiar Windows interface, says Javnozon. Manufacturers have often spent a lot of time and money developing their own signature user interfaces. NavReady has been designed to work in the background with these interfaces, he says.