Microsoft has announced the availability of Windows Embedded NavReady 2009, Microsoft's first embedded operating system designed specifically for manufacturers building handheld portable navigation devices.

Based on Windows Embedded CE, Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 delivers technologies that will help to create connected, service-oriented GPS devices that connect to online services, mobile phones using Bluetooth, Windows-based PCs and the Internet.

As part of the software, "Live Search" will mean devices can be used to find up-to-date points of interest similar to the ones provided by the Live Search Maps service.

Bluetooth technologies will mean handsfree hook-up for phones, while MSN Direct will provide up-to-date information such as traffic alerts and fuel prices.

Also incorporated is Windows SideShow functionality which will mean the PND can act as a secondary display screen for some many Windows Vista-based PCs, with Windows SideShow gadgets displayed on the device's screen.

"We firmly believe the release of Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 helps us fulfill this promise by taking the PND experience to the next level", said Kevin Dallas, general manager of the Windows Embedded Business at Microsoft.

"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."