Microsoft Corp. has announced the availability of Microsoft Streets & Trips 2005 with GPS Locator, a product that combines the company's first O&M Global Positioning System (GPS) hardware device with the latest version of their mapping and travel planning software for the United States and Canada. Streets & Trips 2005 with GPS Locator provides real-time GPS tracking and a comprehensive array of maps, driving directions and points of interest to help travelers know exactly where they are and where they are headed at all times. Streets & Trips 2005 includes more than 5.4 million miles of local, city and highway roads and more than 1.8 million points of interest.
Streets & Trips 2005 with GPS Locator also includes fuel management and cost analysis feature. Microsoft says that according to research from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, Americans used 5.7 billion gallons of fuel and 3.5 billion hours sitting in traffic last year at a total cost of nearly US$70 billion, or about US$520 per driver in the 75 major cities surveyed.
The company believes that its new GPS Locator makes it easier than ever to turn a laptop, Microsoft Windows Mobile-based Pocket PC or Smartphone into an all-inclusive GPS tracking device. USers simply plug the included GPS device into their laptop's USB port, install Streets & Trips 2005 with GPS Locator, and they're ready to hit the road. Microsoft worked with Pharos Science & Applications Inc. to create the solution that works seamlessly with Streets & Trips 2005, incorporating SiRF Technology Holdings Inc.'s GPS technology into the Microsoft-branded hardware device. According to a Pharos press release, the Pharos GPS receiver allows users to connect via CompactFlash, PCMCIA slot, serial port or Bluetooth, using optional accessories from Pharos.
To use the Microsoft branded GPS receiver with a Windows Mobile Pocket PC or Smartphone users , users will have buy an expansion sled, sold separately.
Microsoft Streets & Trips 2005 with GPS Locator is available for an estimated retail price of US$129. The standard version comes without the GPS hardware and is available for an estimated retail price of US$39.95.