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In-Dash DIN-form-factor Car PC 322

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the taking-the-computer-for-a-spin dept.
kraksmokr writes "Xenarc Technologies have introduced a cool new in-dash DIN-form-factor Car PC. It features built in hard drive, audio/video, and GPS, among other things. Estimated price will be about $1200. I can't even begin to list the possibilities for mobile computing bliss." I'm even more impressed that they can fit it into the dash than I am with in-dash CD changers. If you buy this thing, use it safely. None of us want auto PC users to end up in the same category as annoying cell phone users.
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In-Dash DIN-form-factor Car PC

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  • Great.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by neodymium (411811) on Friday July 25, 2003 @04:46AM (#6530176) Homepage
    .. so we'll finally get people watching DivX while doing 90mph on the freeway.
    • Now where'd I put that DivX of Days of Thunder.

      Jason
      ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]
    • by eaglebtc (303754) * on Friday July 25, 2003 @04:49AM (#6530182)
      Officer: "Driver's License and Registr.... say, is that Beverly Hills Cop you're watching there? Mind if I jump in?"
    • Re:Great.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mirko (198274) on Friday July 25, 2003 @04:51AM (#6530188) Journal
      DivX ?
      With a Pentium 266 MMX ?
      I hope you're not expecting all the FPS.
      • no kidding.. not that long ago I tried to watch a divx on a p3 400mhz. got about 5-10fps avg with skippy audio
        • Actually, I got a P2 266 MHz running Windows 2000 to play DivX 5.02 at 11 fps... Sure, the videos were really 29.97 fps, but still... On my Athlon XP 1600+, I can play these videos with the Windows task manager telling me it's only using 10-20% of the CPU.
      • Re:Great.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by arivanov (12034) on Friday July 25, 2003 @07:57AM (#6530631) Homepage
        Yep. Especially in the days of Via Centaur this device is outright stupid. Using components from www.linitx.com I can rig the same thing for around 600$ assuming that 260$ will go for a motorolla GPS to hook up to the serial port.
    • Pr0n! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BitwizeGHC (145393) on Friday July 25, 2003 @04:51AM (#6530193) Homepage
      Apparently the studly thing to do if you are a ricer type, is to have pr0n running on the video screens on the backs of your headrests. That way everybody you drive past can get either offended or dangerously distracted. I have personally seen this once, and there was also a news item about it.
      • Sod that for a lark, stick a 50" plasma in your back window. Run the pr0n on that, and watch the other drivers freak out.
      • by tgd (2822)
        When I'm in the car, the Pr0n is happening in the front seat.
  • Road Rage! (Score:5, Funny)

    by fuzzybunny (112938) on Friday July 25, 2003 @04:53AM (#6530196) Homepage Journal

    Awesome. Now I can finally play Grand Theft Auto while cruising through the Ghetto.
  • 'Bullitt.' A must-see for that long ride into the Vegas sunset. Then you have an excuse for the cop: "Sorry, officer? I was just practicing those stunts back there! I thought Bullitt was an educational film."
  • Before allowing a person to operate an in-dash computer system in a car, they should be able to show that their own brain has sufficient processing power to think, drive, and use the computer at the same time.


    Same thing with cell phone users, that you must be able to talk and drive and the same time and walk and chew gum at the same time.

  • by chrisbtoo (41029) on Friday July 25, 2003 @04:58AM (#6530205) Homepage Journal
    None of us want auto PC users to end up in the same category as annoying cell phone users.


    <chrisbtoo> HELLO!
    <chrisbtoo> I'M IN THE CAR!
    <chrisbtoo> THE CAR!
    <chrisbtoo> NO, IT'S SHIT!

  • $1200? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grumm3t (620808) on Friday July 25, 2003 @04:58AM (#6530206)
    It's upsetting the $1,200 price-tag pays more for the compact-type computer than for the computer parts itself. I'd like to see a release of a more asthetic and powerful computer. Removing the CDROM would free up some room for upgrades and since many in-dash CD players are regular PC CDROMS some sort of uplink through that doesn't seem so farfetched.
    • Re:$1200? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by luzrek (570886) on Friday July 25, 2003 @05:12AM (#6530248) Journal
      You could always build your own using a EPIA-M (or other EPIA) motherboard/processor combo from VIA, a car-stereo sized case from Casetronic or Morex, and a "slim" CD/CDRW/DVD, and a 2.5" Harddrive (and ram). Alternatively, if you already have wireless networking in your garage, you could skip the optical drive and just transfer files to it that way. When I built my slightly larger "living room" PC I think I ended up spending about 600-700$, so I'ld expect to pay about that for a car stereo sized one.
      • Re:$1200? (Score:3, Insightful)

        And here's the link [casetronic.com]. Yes, it fits in your dashboard too.

        $1200 is pretty steep, for just an underpowered small PC - it's probably an overpriced "industrial" board that's been repackaged, and I'm not sure the 266MHz box will play DVD's and run those funky xmms plugins quite as well as a GHz VIA board. When counting the cost of you're in-car PC, don't forget the touchscreen and tiny-LCD display either - typing's a bitch when you're driving.

        /whoring

    • by yuri (22724)
      But haven't you just taken out the cd player to install this thing?

      But maybe it could work (with extra cabling) with a cd stacker.
  • by TheMidget (512188) on Friday July 25, 2003 @05:00AM (#6530213)
    This PC even has two PCMCIA sockets good for wireless communication.

    Hey, it's a wardriving machine!

  • by RMH101 (636144) on Friday July 25, 2003 @05:02AM (#6530214)
    this is all very well but is a pc what you want in your car? keyboard, mouse, tiny icons due to running on a small LCD? unless someone's released "Windows XP Car edition" or similar I really don't see this as all that useful - compared to say a navigation unit and an in car MP3 player. Or a PDA based system that has an OS that's in ROM and can be
    Ubiquitous computing doesn't necesarily mean a *PC* is the best tool for the job. I don't fancy driving into the back of someone because I was trying to click on the MSN messenger icon...
    • Already done [computerworld.com]
      • Yeah a while back too. Since WINCE 3.0 Microsoft has had a AutoPC version including a memory card slot and the like. Clarion's current unit (around 2600 USD) has a Pentium MMX chip in it. This may seem underpowered, but consider it's only driving a display that is much smaller then a PocketPC's display.
    • "Windows XP Car edition"

      Linux has been in this market for years. It all started with the embedded systems kernel. This is why Linux is so remarkable, because it has done many things it was not originally intended to do, and excelled at them through the genius of open source programmers. Linux could be comparable to *o*r*g, a custom OS with its own kernel a friend built. The point is, you have never heard of it. The same was at one time true for linux, and look at it now.

      Html is fun. So is the ctrl-a

    • by shortscruffydave (638529) on Friday July 25, 2003 @05:22AM (#6530271)
      I guess voice control for apps is one angle, but is that technology good enough, and will the hardware here be powerful enough to do it support it reliably?
    • Freevo is a good start. It uses a very straight forward interface that has the most common functions that you are planning on using. Since it's open source, I'm sure you could modify it to have the menu options and programs you want to run on it. Its large font makes it easy to read on TVs and small LCDs alike.

      http://freevo.sourceforge.net/

      Sorry, I do think that Freevo lacks the MSN icon, so you may be out of luck there... :) better stick with winblows :)
    • this is all very well but is a pc what you want in your car? keyboard, mouse, tiny icons due to running on a small LCD? unless someone's released "Windows XP Car edition" or similar I really don't see this as all that useful

      Let me guess: You're the guy who sits in meetings and says "who would want to buy that?"

      • Go fuck yourself.
        I'm the guy who *buys* all this shit, and what it's taught me is that it may be new, it may make people on slashdot go "ooooooooooh" but that DOESN'T NECESSARILY MAKE IT PRACTICAL. has it got an in-dash DIN sized display? an in-dash DIN-sized interface device? No. So what's the point of making it DIN sized? Just so people can see what you've blown all your money on instead of sticking it in the boot like your autochanger?
    • you dont have to make an operating system for a computer in your car to have a nice ui. just make a windows (or linux) program that runs fullscreen and design the ui yourself
      • hell, if your even lazier than that, just make a webpage that can launch all that stuff. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing that you could write some funky html/activex/who knows what that could just launch from a full screen web browser. Point is, you got a plethera of programs out there, use them!
    • With wireless networking and PalmVNC, you could operate the in-dash computer via a PalmOS-compatible PDA. Imagine that this thing could be very powerful as a combination MP3 jukebox, satnav device, PVR -- toss a 7" monitor in the back seat of a SUV or minivan, which some manufacturers are starting to add in their luxury models, great for the kids -- and with USB ports, the thing could be useful to store files for your digital camera. Sure, some of these things (satnav/gps, MP3 playing) can be done by a PDA, but you're limited by the memory you can stuff into the PDA. A full PC, OTOH, can have hundreds of megs of RAM and hundreds of gigabytes of hard drive storage. That, and the fact that you can combine all those devices into one is going to save you space.

      That's why you'd want a PC in your car.
      • by BLKMGK (34057)
        I run an aftermarket ECU in my car. I spend a great deal of time tuning and monitoring what's going on in my car - doing this with a laptop in the passenger seat SUX and also requires too much of my attention. I'm often reduced to datalogging and then perusing the logs to see what went on. This particular ECU, made by AEM, also allows me to create CUSTOM DASHBOARDS. I can create all sorts of nifty graphic gauges to monitor any of about 100+ different things going on with the car. Again, displaying these on
      • Matchbox WM [handhelds.org] + A Touchscreen [magictouch.com] = User Interface.
      • Go read Handhelds.org [handhelds.org] - Linux has been doing small screens for ages. Combine it with exisiting media apps like xmms and mplayer and you're a long way there already. Maybe WinXP isn't ideal, but there's plenty of other stuff that is. Try to think outside the windows your mind is trapped in.
    • by kinnell (607819) on Friday July 25, 2003 @08:09AM (#6530697)
      This is slashdot. Simply being able to claim that your car runs linux is sufficient justification.
    • I was a member of the Penn State FutureTruck [futuretruck.org] program this past year, which had 15 universities develop hybrid-electric Ford Explorers. I know several schools had in-dash PC's of some sort to provide entertainment, telemetry, and navigation functions.

      PSU's system (picture here [psu.edu]) , which I wrote in Delphi, focused on entertainment, such as the MP3 player screen shown in the picture. The interface is fairly easy to navigate without requiring too much attention while driving. The display itself is a touch
  • Nice, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shadwwulf (145057) on Friday July 25, 2003 @05:04AM (#6530220) Homepage
    ...I see shortcomings.

    Personally the Pentuim 266MMX is a little underpowered unless you just want an MP3 player or something along those lines. I personally think that taking the approach of what many high end car audio systems do(e.g. put the UI in the dash and the major hardware in the trunk) would have been a better approach. Having the audio, PCMCIA and the like in dash is great, but having a nice long(and heavily shielded) cable running to the trunk would be more effective because the space constraints aren't as big of a deal.

    Just my $0.02
    • What are you looking to do? I have a PII266Mhz laptop that I use for everything. Wink2k, Office, Winamp, Netstumbler and dual boot into Gentoo and use Gimp, Evolution, Gaim. It's not super speedy but it's plenty fast for normal use.

    • Re:Nice, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by itsjpr (16533)
      I don't know...a 266MHz Intel with MMX...that sounds a lot like my personal computer here at home. It's the only machine we have and it works just fine. Sure it's a little slow at times but it's perfectly adequate.

      We always run two X sessions so my wife and I can fast user switch between our desktops. It serves as our stereo, and I run our family web site and a couple of low volume mailing lists off it. It only gets sluggish when I have way too many windows open.

      Thinking of things a little differently
    • Re:Nice, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jonbrewer (11894) *
      but having a nice long(and heavily shielded) cable running to the trunk would be more effective because the space constraints aren't as big of a deal.

      With processors so cheap, just have a separate machine up front running VNC or similar, and put something real in the back to do the work. In fact, aren't there such displays commercially available? As in flat-panels with a processor, video card, and etherent jack?

      Really the cost of installing a high-quality shielded cable to move user input back and video
  • Early bird prices - Free portable computer that fits into hospital beds!!
  • by bobthemuse (574400)
    I seem to remember some software being developed which emulated the OBD II car computer. It would be very interesting to load that software, this product, and a DA card to allow manual adjustments.

    OTOH, some idiot will probably do this on an unstable OS, brining new meaning to 'system crash'.
    • Re:Car computer (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MatthewB79 (47875)
      Actually, you do not need to emulate the OBD computer in order to make changes. As long as this in-dash PC has a COM port software like this [ross-tech.com] for VW and Audi vehicles can make any OBD/VAG controlled adjustments and record engine data in real time. Of course you can do this with a laptop but I can see the usefulness for those interested in performance tuning or adding another layer of security. Maybe like having to login to your car in order to start the engine.
      • VW/Audi 1.8T engine: standard 150-170BHP.
        Half a day with Mike @ Jabbasport with his laptop and rolling road? 225BHP at the fly, with the dyno to prove it.
        Driven one and it's very quick indeed. Handily, the same engine comes in a 225BHP variant with a larger turbo, so you're not even overstressing it.
  • Hmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sekzscripting (687192) on Friday July 25, 2003 @05:10AM (#6530236) Homepage
    Is it just me, or does the damn thing look ugly? I personally wouldn't sport that 'thing' in my car.
  • Not A Good Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 25, 2003 @05:18AM (#6530256)
    I ride a motorcycle. The three times that I have come closest to death in my life were on the freeway when someone with a cell phone held to their left ear did not bother to do a head check before moving left into me. I started coding on PDP-8s and Alpha Micros and I'm all for CPUs everywhere, but I don't like this thing one bit.

    If you wouldn't use it while riding a motorcycle, paying attention to the road and to other things around you with both hands on the steering mechanism, then you shouldn't use it in a car.
    • Totally agree. In fact, what keeps me from going back to a motorcycle is the appalling driving of cell phone users. I'm convinced some of them actually have a permanent set in their arms and a nokia-shaped depression in their faces. They also have IQs around room temperature. It's mostly dumbos like this that will USE in-car computers when moving because they are insufficiently intelligent to assess risk.

      It's sad really - dinosaur evolution - ever bigger tin boxes to protect us from the morons that are allo

    • Yeah, The mp3's are great and all, so is the gps, but as the parent poster mentioned, this is dangerous for small vehicles. I can already see the car passing me then sharply turning right when the in-dash gps told him to, and just cutting my life short. I have already had a close call with a lady, driving a Lexus who just watched the icons on her gps, thinking it was a radar and it would tell her where the cars around here were. Now a gps that is user controled is even worse for me. No way I can abide that,
    • I have this fantasy where I hang a bag of large round rocks on my handle bars and toss them backwards into the windshields of those idiots. No signals (one hand is occupied) and absolutely no conception of the traffic around them. They feel entitled to do whatever they want apparently.

      It's bad enough that people pull out on me all the time (no sense of speed) without cell phones. But I seriously feel the urge to kill when they're using a phone, putting on make up, reading or doing something else equally i

  • by debilo (612116) on Friday July 25, 2003 @05:22AM (#6530268)
    In-Dash DIN-form-factor Car PC

    ...huh?
  • by QuasiRob (134012) on Friday July 25, 2003 @05:22AM (#6530270)
    Its all very well having that lil DIN sized box in your dashbooard, and having all those features to hand but its absolutly useless cos theres no way to control it. Lets face it, the main reason you want a computer in the car is to play music or as some kind of satnav device. With no display or input devices it cant be used for that, and every car I've owned only had room for one DIN device. So where do you put the control/display devices?

    I know they have a link to their little 7 inch monitors in the article, but again, where do you really put that? Cant go on the dash, its too big. Cant go on the front of the dash cos it would covers the air vents and the PC its connected to. And its a bit too easy for thieves to see.

    I like that the computer is small and designed for use in a car, but its better off in the glovebox or under the dash, with a connection to a touchscreen flat panel in the DIN slot.

    The best car computer/mp3 player I've seen so far is the Empeg player ( http://www.empeg.com ) but they stopped making them.
  • ESS Sound Chip? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LamerX (164968) on Friday July 25, 2003 @05:22AM (#6530272) Journal
    Since this unit looks to be replacing a head unit stereo, why would you want to use a sound processor like an ESS? I would think that an emphasis on sound quality would be the ultimate thing in a stereo situation. I know that the cabin of your car isn't the most efficent place for quality of sound, but you can still tell a lot. I'm no expert on sound chips, but IMHO, ESS isn't the top choice for high qulity sound.
    • You sound like one of those audiophiles. The ESS has a 16 bit ADC/DAC pair with sampling rates which exceed your hearing range. With this low harmonic distortion, the ESS should meet your bid requirements. Unless your hearing is more exceptional than mine, I don't know what you are complaining about.
    • To be a safe hands-free design, it should use voice commands. However I see a problem with a voice controlled car stereo. "Lower the volume!" "WHUT?" "Turn it down!" "WHUT?"
  • by ortholattice (175065) on Friday July 25, 2003 @05:32AM (#6530290)
    The input rating of 10V to 26V may cause the computer to die when starting the engine, so don't depend on this to run anything critical. Do these guys even understand car battery specs? A good design should work at least down to 7.2V [familycar.com]: "Today's batteries are rated in cold cranking amps. This represents the current that the battery can produce for 30 seconds at 0 degrees before the battery voltage drops below 7.2 volts." Better designs such as the power supply in this ECU device [wolfems.com.au] will work down to 6.5V.

    This design error seems to be common. Out of three laptop 12V adapters I've purchased, only one worked with an old battery (that was still good enough to start the car). The worst is my most recent Xtend PowerXtender, which is rated 12-16V and often refuses to work unless the engine is running - very annoying when I'm waiting in the car and want to use my laptop.

    • A good overkill solution would be a diode and a small UPS/exit sign battery. This would make a simple, yet effective UPS unit for the car. No inversion necessary!
    • Thanks for the heads-up, that saves me time looking through the tech specs, well, that and the 300MHz CPU, which I'm not sure is enough.

      If I were to do something like this, I suppose a 1U system with a better power supply is in order.
  • Hmm. (Score:2, Redundant)

    by nepheles (642829)

    This possibly goes without saying, but it is none too difficult to create a far better solution, for considerably less money, by buying components individually. Mini-itx.com is a good place to start. $1,200 for this is, frankly, too expensive.

  • by fireman sam (662213) on Friday July 25, 2003 @05:37AM (#6530301) Homepage Journal
    Quote: "We are currently working on a version with faster processor speed. Please check back with us in a couple of months for more information."

    In other words: Don't buy our current product. We will use the non-existant money we make from not selling version one to make version two.

    Didn't other companies go broke due to similar statements?
  • by gfody (514448) * on Friday July 25, 2003 @05:38AM (#6530306)
    why didn't they use a slotfeed dvd drive? unless... maybe the cd tray really does double as a cupholder
  • in-dash PC (Score:2, Interesting)

    IMHO, the only equipment required in a (real) car is a rev-counter and an oil-pressure gauge :-)
  • Beige (Score:5, Insightful)

    by martingunnarsson (590268) <martin&snarl-up,com> on Friday July 25, 2003 @05:59AM (#6530356) Homepage
    Why do they make these things beige/white?? I mean, how many cars have a white dashboard? Perhaps the computers come with front panels in different colors?
  • In car MP3 player. That was basically a pc which was removable. It had a docking station which you used to squirt your MP3s onto it with.

    Empeg Products Page [empeg.org]
  • Dead hard drive? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by juniorkindergarten (662101) on Friday July 25, 2003 @06:04AM (#6530367)
    Maybe I'm being a bit paranoid, but wouldn't the first nasty pot hole/speed bump kill the hard drive?
    Have hard drive manufacturers made notebook drives able to withstand the extreme g forces that could be encountered in a vehicle on a day to day basis? Does someone have real experience/data having a hard drive last for any length of time in a car?
    • Re:Dead hard drive? (Score:2, Informative)

      by TheTimoo (658067)
      Seagate Model St3I 44A (at least 10 years old. dunno how big, it made funny sounds when I connected it) :

      Product warranty will be void if label or top cover is removed or if the drive experiences shocks in excess of 75 G's.

      should be pretty safe, or else your driving style needs serious improvement *g*
      OTOH maybe I just don't know about car physics
    • HD in cars (Score:4, Informative)

      by wowbagger (69688) * on Friday July 25, 2003 @08:10AM (#6530698) Homepage Journal
      I've had a Neo35 with a 30G drive in my car for several years now, with no problems - and the Neo is CONSTANTLY accessing the drive - it doesn't really cache the data very well, and it uses the drive instead of NVRAM to store where it is in playing the song. I frequently run over dirt roads and potholes. My Neo does quite a bit better than my old CD changer, which would spaz whenever I hit a particularly bad washboard or pothole.

      You must remember that what will kill the drive is a sudden, high-G shock. Now, your car is a large mass suspended in a shock-absorbing system (your tires and shocks (unless you are a ricer, in which case you remove the shocks and wrap rubber bands around your bling-bling wheelrims)). So any sudden, sharp shock your tires hit will be turned into a longer, less sharp shock by the time it reaches the hard disk.
  • by Spam.B.gone (682244) on Friday July 25, 2003 @06:07AM (#6530375) Journal
    On the A2 there is a 12 kilometer beowulf cluster.
  • OLED (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <.ten.3dlrow. .ta. .ojom.> on Friday July 25, 2003 @07:20AM (#6530514) Homepage
    Combined with OLED (organic light emitting diode) technology, this could be a killer app. OLED displays are a bit like LCD displays, except that they emit light rather than reflect it. They can be transparent in the areas they are not lit, and come in green and orange currently.

    Imagine a head up display for your radio/cd/mp3... you could even move your speed- and odo-meters to the windscreen. Thinking further ahead, augmented reality displays will eventually be possible. I'd like to see a kind of mini-radar, that shows other cars near yours (a bit like on Daytona USA, the Sega arcade game). No more blind spots etc.

    MoJo
  • Carmacs (Score:3, Funny)

    by RealBeanDip (26604) on Friday July 25, 2003 @07:20AM (#6530515)
    "If you buy this thing, use it safely. None of us want auto PC users to end up in the same category as annoying cell phone users."

    How does one do a C-x-f safely while driving anyway?
  • Personally I am looking forward to the release of this [opussolutions.com] system from here [opussolutions.com]. It doesn't have full specs, but it does include a power supply that monitors the input signals from the car and can perform power management functions.

    I have been looking into this for a while, and the one linked does seem nice, and the same company makes some higher end models in case 266MHz isn't enough.

  • None of us want auto PC users to end up in the same category as annoying cell phone users.
    You mean the 'car accident victim' category? Well, if they use the comp while driving, it'd be nice Darwinian Poetic Justice [slashdot.org].
  • C2C File Sharing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by G4from128k (686170)
    Seems like this little invention, along with a bit'o wireless gear, should let people swap music files in the safety and convenience of their own car. Car-2-car swapping networks would let you snag files from fellow commuters as long as you were all going the same speed during the download time. So a long commute down a steadily moving highway would make an excellent venue for file sharing. Only problem would be if the person you are connected to takes an early exit and breaks the link.

    For extra cre
  • Isn't that the logo of X Window System?
  • where's the radio? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wing_Zero (692394) on Friday July 25, 2003 @07:46AM (#6530593)
    we're paying $1200 for this device that fits into the same space as our radio, so where do we put our radio? I don't know about you, but sometimes I jsut want to hear my favorite station and laugh at the morning show personality.
  • The bus company who I travel to and from work on every day have fitted each bus with a PC. There's a flat screen display attached to the bulkhead behind the driver facing the passengers, and some unit, probably embedded, on the other side.

    I believe it's going to be intergrated with GPS to give a read out of the current location and ETA. It's not working yet, so either displays an AMI BIOS boot message with no boot device, or just the bus company logo.
  • HUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mostly Monkey (454505) on Friday July 25, 2003 @08:29AM (#6530784)
    Once I get around to installing a PC in my car I think I'll go the route of a HUD. This way I'll be able to glance at the interface without taking my eyes off the road. I've noticed in the past that papers on my dash in certain places reflect a certain ammount on my windshield. It's enough to see the paper and the road at the same time during daytime. At night it's very hard to see the reflection. I figure that a decent LCD with a brightness adjustment would work wonders. Of course I would have to figure out how to reverse the characters since I would be looking in a reflection. The only issues I can think of is dust collection and heat damage during the summer. A cover would work nicely for the dust, but making it removable for the heat problem would be tough.
  • by tlianza (454820) on Friday July 25, 2003 @08:56AM (#6530963) Homepage
    Check out this message at the bottom of the page:
    We are currently working on a version with faster processor speed. Please check back with us in a couple of months for more information.
    These people should have learned the lesson Intel (coincidentally) learned. Don't announce faster products before they're released! All that does is cut into the sales of your current products. Why would I drop $1200 on this machine when I know it's faster successor will be out "in a couple of months"?
  • by xtal (49134)
    Uuuuh.. you can get an industrial form factor PC with CF drives and IDE headers for between $300-500. Mount it in the trunk, and run your I/O some other way. Don't see the appeal of the DIN mounting here.. especially with mp3 players rampant / cheap.

    I'm waiting to install a Arcom Controls [arcom.com] board in the trunk, with 802.11 onboard so I can copy music from my home PC into the car transparently.
  • pointless (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 73939133 (676561) on Friday July 25, 2003 @10:12AM (#6531583)
    Put the PC in the trunk: it's more protected there and there is more room for all the things you might want to plug in. What should go into the dashboard is the user interface--a touch screen or an LCD and some buttons. A Bluetooth or WiFi-capable touch screen in an in-dash form factor, now that would be something useful.

    Until then, you might be best off just sticking a Palm or PPC to your dashboard and having it talk wirelessly to your PC.
  • by Friendly (160067) on Friday July 25, 2003 @10:55AM (#6532026)
    The package mentioned in the article includes software. You are not just paying $1200 for a box, you get the GPS software and the OS installed and configured. Also have any of you considered the whole issue with system power? If you notice there are not any AC outlet in your car. If you are considering a invert then you now have two heat sources to cool, plus you have to worry about draining your battery. These specialized systems come with DC to DC (because the computer PS just turns AC to DC anyway) power supplies that can sense when you power off your car. They also will shut the system down if they sense a low battery. If you want more power check out these PIII and PIV systems:

    http://www.i-zone-3.com/components.htm [i-zone-3.com]

    http://www.opussolutions.com/ [opussolutions.com]

    You are still talking $2000 to $3000 for complete system (including the touch screen), but now you have a much more powerful computer.

Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson

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