Million Dollar Monday
In today’s high tech world, customizing your car doesn’t just mean getting a fancy set of wheels. Customizing can mean going to the extreme and having a personal computer installed. It means luxury at it’s finest, and it means that it won’t be cheap. I came across two different examples of the in-car PC; one being a PC running Windows XP and the other based upon an Apple iMac G5. You can bet there are multiple different options out there, this will just be a run down of two of them. APPLEWe’ll start with the Apple version pictured to the right. This example as mentioned is based upon the iMac G5. The entire computer system is built into a 17 inch monitor that is 5 centimeters thick. It can easily be removed from the car in less than a minute, making it a great option to use at home, at the office, or wherever the car will take you. This multimedia machine features a wireless keyboard and mouse. Of course if it’s being integrated into a luxury car, it must match the interior, right? The company, Mattes Interieurtechnik out of Germany specializes in customizing luxury cars and makes this available to match any interior. This computer is covered in magnolia colored leather to match perfectly with the interior of the Mercedes CLS. Gizmag prices this at over $3,000, although I imagine the installation and customization of the leather covering will cost more. Another option is a built in PC that runs off of Windows XP Home edition (pictured below). It’s made in South Korea and has been named the Infill G4. It simply looks nice and the fact that it is built in makes it more appealing. It can be fully integrated into you car with functionalities such as controlling it using the steering wheel, or using it as a rear view backup camera. It also has navigation built in along with a DVD player to turn your car into a movie theater. All of this is controlled by a touchscreen along with a stylus. As for the specifications, this PC has a 40GB hard drive along with 512MB of RAM and a 6.5 inch screen. It wouldn’t be complete without a USB port which it has 3 of (although two of them on the back and not very accessible). Navigadget lists the price at around $2,000 which doesn’t seem too bad for a built in personal computer.


For a do it yourself kit, take a look at this video clip from CNET. There’s a 3 minute install option or a fully built in option available. The person giving the demo in the CNET clip mentions the Blue Tooth integration that would give your PC the capability to mute your music when you receive a phone call. Another cool function would be the capability for your PC to tell you why your check engine light is on. Plus, the option for people to design plug-ins for the system opens up a whole new door of possibilities. Pricing for the kit mentioned on CNET is around $2,000. As built in navigation systems become more prominent in vehicles, I anticipate we will see more advanced car PC systems. Instead of just using the built in navigation system to control music, we could be using our personal built in PC system to access our entire music collection, and connect to the internet. Before we know it, our cars will be doing it all!