image For those of you looking to continue using the Pharos GPS puck(s) that shipped with S&T the last few years and MapPoint 2006, you can now look forward to a new piece of geek gadgetry. MapPoint 2009 with GPS Locator and Streets & Trips 2009 with GPS Locator (in Canada) will now be packaged with a u-blox GPS USB Stick. S&T sold in the US will still be powered by the Pharos SIRF III GPS puck. Here's the official press release from u-blox.

Thalwil, Switzerland -- August 28, 2008 -- -- u-blox Holding AG today announced that Microsoft Corporation selected its latest positioning engine, u-blox 5, for a new "GPS Locator" USB stick. The “GPS Locator” USB stick will be bundled with the next release of MapPoint, Microsoft’s business travel and map software package.

The new u-blox 5 GPS chipset is a highly integrated, cost-efficient GPS engine that offers users accurate positioning in a small package without compromising on performance. GPS devices are often bulky and too big to connect to a notebook without a USB cable. With u-blox’ innovative u-blox 5 GPS chipset, Microsoft was finally able to overcome this problem, offering users a compact, easy to use GPS-enabled USB stick that feels very much like memory sticks they are used to.

The “GPS Locator” USB stick provides users with reliable positioning and a USB 2.0 port for fast and easy data transfer all in one tiny package that easily plugs into any computer.

Microsoft expects that this bundled solution, leveraging on Microsoft’s leading location software with u-blox’ GPS excellence, will further expand the market reach of MapPoint.

"We are very proud that Microsoft uses u-blox 5 for its new MapPoint package," said Nikolaos Papadopoulos, President of u-blox America. "The ultra-fast start-up time of the u-blox 5 positioning engine, added to the engine’s high sensitivity, as well as cost and space efficiency make it ideal for mass-market applications like Microsoft's innovative MapPoint location product."

The 2009 edition of MapPoint with u-blox 5-based “GPS Locator” USB Stick is expected to be on the shelves in August 2008.

A new piece of geek gadgetry is always so fun!

CP