Linux car computer

Linux car computer

Windows is the OS of choice in most car computers I've seen, but MimoUSA is developing a unit that runs on Linux. Not a household name, MimoUSA makes a wide range of aftermarket car equipment such as LCDs, HID headlight kits, and even stereo head units. Its Mobile Car Computer, on display at SEMA, isn't a particularly flashy unit. It's a single-DIN-form-factor black case, and the dashboard end has a DVD/CD slot, two USB ports, and assorted audio jacks. The lack of controls on the case means you would also need to hook up a touch-screen display and possibly a keyboard. To keep the heat low, the unit uses a CPU with processing power equivalent to a 700MHz Pentium running Linux, because the hardware is too limited to run Windows XP. MimoUSA developed a custom UI, which keeps the applications you would want in a car easily accessible. Besides the usual mobile applications such as navigation and MP3 playback, the company is betting most of the unit's functionality on an Internet connection. It has a slot for a GPRS card along with built-in Wi-Fi, and 3G will be added as networks become available in the Unite States. Although satellite radio could be added, an Internet connection would mean streaming music from the multitude of Internet radio stations, not to mention VoIP calls and remote surveillance of your car. Of course, Wi-Fi and GPRS aren't really capable of supporting all this Internet activity with any quality, but 3G might change the picture. The unit is under development and is expected to be released by the end of the year.

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