MSN Direct Services Overview

Windows CE 5.0 Not SupportedWindows Embedded NavReady 2009 Supported


With MSN Direct services for Windows Embedded CE, you can build an application that integrates up-to-date data, such as weather, traffic, and movie times, into the portable navigation device (PND) experience.

To use MSN Direct services for Windows Embedded CE, a Windows Embedded NavReady powered device must be attached to an MSN Direct receiver and be in close proximity to a Microsoft DirectBand Network FM broadcast signal. An MSN Direct receiver is a device either connected to an in-car adapter, or with its own battery which receives messages through FM radio waves that contain location-based services from the Microsoft DirectBand Network. Using the MSN Direct protocol over serial communications, the data cached on the receiver is pushed to the Windows Embedded NavReady powered portable navigation device (PND) and is displayed to the user through the MSN Direct application and a navigation application.

MSN Direct Services

MSN Direct services delivers a variety of up-to-date data services through FM radio towers. To do this, MSN Direct aggregates up-to-date data from various sources on back-end servers and then broadcasts the data over the Microsoft DirectBand Network to mobile devices that support it. These mobile devices can display up-to-date data to users through an MSN Direct application.

The following list describes many of the MSN Direct services supported by Windows Embedded NavReady:

  • Traffic reports: flow and incidents
  • Gas prices
  • Weather: reports and forecasts
  • Movie times
  • Received Locations sent from the desktop (by using the Send to GPS feature)
  • Local events
  • News: headlines and breaking news alerts
  • Stock quotes
  • Messages: group
  • Emergency alerts

MSN Direct Services Architecture

The following illustration shows the overall architecture of MSN Direct services:

MSN Direct Services Architecture

Microsoft DirectBand Network Overview

Microsoft DirectBand Network is a North American wireless datacasting service owned and operated by Microsoft. It uses FM radio waves to constantly transmit location-based, up-to-date data to over 125 major regions in the U.S. and Canada. Broadcast data is refreshed on the device once every 113 seconds, each hour of the day.

The Microsoft DirectBand Network operates at subcarrier frequency of 67.647 kilohertz (kHz).

A MSN Direct receiver accepts and caches the over-the-air (OTA) up-to-date data, and then sends it to a mobile device, for example a Windows Embedded CE portable navigation device (PND), through the MSN Direct protocol over a serial connection.

Device Support for MSN Direct Services

To support MSN Direct services, a portable navigation device (PND) must be connected to an MSN Direct receiver that accepts data, caches it, and sends it to the device. The Windows Embedded CE run-time image on the portable navigation device (PND) must support the MSN Direct Sample Application Catalog item. It must also provide a host application that accepts data from the receiver and displays it to the user through the user interface (UI). The host application must be built by using the MSN Direct Library API, and your application UI must reflect the MSN Direct UI guidelines.

For example, options for viewing up-to-date data from various MSN Direct services can be integrated into the menu UI on a portable navigation device (PND).

With an MSN Direct UI application, you can enhance the navigation experience by providing users with access to up-to-date traffic information, directions for finding efficient routes to destinations based on up-to-date traffic information, as well as up-to-date weather reports, movie times, and stock quotes.

MSN Direct Services Application Development

MSN Direct services for Windows Embedded CE provides OEMs with a host-side class library (DBRLib.lib) that can be used by an application to extract up-to-date data from theMSN Direct receiver through the MSN Direct protocol. By using the MSN Direct protocol over a serial connection, MSN Direct applications on a Windows Embedded NavReady powered device can use the host-side class library to support both a push model and a pull model of exchanging messages. With the push model the receiver pushes refreshed data to the MSN Direct application. With the pull model the MSN Direct application requests and pulls cached data from the receiver, such as when the Windows Embedded NavReady powered device starts up.

MSN Direct services for Windows Embedded CE also provides OEMs with tools for developing and testing MSN Direct applications in a test environment that consists of prototype hardware. These tools include an MSN Direct receiver emulator and a sample application.

The MSN Direct receiver emulator is a desktop emulator that acts like an MSN Direct receiver to simulate the receipt of up-to-date data by pulling pre-configured data from a .dat file. It also simulates the transfer of data to a sample application. The sample application (MSNDirectApp.exe) runs on a Windows Embedded CE standard development board (SDB). It uses the host-side class library to receive up-to-date data and display it as command-line output. You can modify the sample application to display the up-to-date data through a PND UI on a display screen connected to the SDB.

The MSN Direct sample application (MSNDirectApp.exe) implements the base functionality of an application that receives and processes up-to-date data from MSN Direct services. The sample application runs on a Windows Embedded CE standard development board (SDB) and is used to receive and process simulated data sent from the MSN Direct receiver emulator, which receives and processes simulated data. It also displays text output about the data it receives from the serial connection in the sample UI.

External Resources

Topic Description

MSN Direct External Web Site

Provides information about the MSN Direct consumer product line.

Microsoft Direct

Provides information about the Microsoft DirectBand Network.

See Also


MSN Direct Services Architecture
How to Integrate MSN Direct into a Device

Other Resources

MSN Direct Services