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Azentek builds a PC for your car

Azentek builds a PC for your car

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
2 min read

The Atlas CPC-1000 bears a late-stage prototype of the CPC-1200, which is scheduled to ship in April
The Atlas CPC-1000 bears a late-stage prototype of the CPC-1200, which is scheduled to ship in April Azentek

All of the core features we want in car technology--GPS navigation, Bluetooth cell phone integration, and audio and media playback--can be handled by a PC, so Azentek is offering two new in-dash PCs, the Atlas CPC-1200 and the Calypso CPC-1100. Both units are powered by an Intel Core Duo 1.66GHz CPU with 1GB of RAM, a 120GB hard drive, and a DVD-ROM/CDRW drive. But they both also have car stereo features, such as a 4 channel, 50 watt built-in amp, an FM tuner, and the ability to be upgraded with either XM or Sirius satellite radio. The Atlas CPC-1200 is a double DIN unit with a 6.5 inch screen, while the Calypso CPC-1100 is a single DIN unit with a motorized 7 inch screen.

Both car PCs use Windows Vista overlaid with a custom automotive interface designed by Azentek, which gives you easy access to such functions as navigation or audio playback. Azentek included CANbus ports so both units can receive data from your car, such as trip information. The front panels have ports for USB drives, SD cards, and an auxiliary jack. But with such a large hard drive, you can maintain a huge music library in your car. Azentek doesn't skip on audio quality, using 24-bit digital-to-analog converters, which deliver superior sound, on the CD drive, and a Dolby Digital 7.1 optical output. A car PC offers many advantages, such as a flexible and upgradable platform for all sorts of applications. And anyone with a reasonable amount of computer expertise can hack it to add more functionality, while those who don't want to lift a finger can use the system's built-in VoiceBox technology to deliver conversational voice commands to activate most navigation and music functions. The Atlas CPC-1200 and Calypso CPC-1100 look like car PCs that are ready for prime time. Azentek says that both units are scheduled to ship in April with a price tag of around $2,700.