Garmin is taking steps in the right direction with a new service it recently announced. Everyone who has used a GPS navigation knows that entering addresses is pretty painstaking, so this new service—a collaboration between Garmin and MSN Direct—tries to eliminate that requirement altogether. It seems the service is pretty simple: beaming directions from a computer using Microsoft Live Search Maps directly to a compatible Garmin GPS unit. But the method they used to get to that point is an interesting one.
Back in 2003, Microsoft introduced Spot, an information service that operated on the FM frequency band. There functioned using watches that could receive weather info, sports scores, etc. Spot has taken on a new identity as MSN Direct now provides a direct method of communication between your PC and compatible GPS receiver or other gadgets.
It sends the directions and addresses to your GPS receiver over the FM frequency. The current two compatible GPS receivers are the Garmin nuvi 880 and 780. An additional MSN Direct receiver is also required for your GPS unit, a $50 per year operation cost. So by no means is being lazy cheap, but it sure as hell is convenient. [Navigadget]