Why a CarPuter?

Our PCs are more suited to the vehicle environment than other mobile IT devices.

Vehicle-based electronic devices are nothing new, but no existing in-car or mobile IT device can match the CarPuter (Car Computer) functionality and versatility. Here are a few reasons why a CarPuter (Car Computer) should be your first choice for a combined vehicle infotainment and mobile IT solution.

[UPDATE] Check the table below that compares CarPuters (Car Computers) to other mobile IT devices such as PDAs, laptops and tablets…

Advantages over expensive proprietary systems

How can you benefit from a car computer, many people are asking. Well, there is always the possibility to buy “complete” proprietary navigation systems, like from the car manufacturers… But the expenses! Such solutions begin at about 1500-2000 EUR and can not provide you a fraction of what a real CarPuter (Car Computer) can offer. As a rule,the expensive systems can only provide you GPS-navigation. But this offers a mini carputer too! And there is music enjoyment with MP3 and suchlike. You can use the player of your choice (eg. WinAMP) and you have the possibility to watch DVD-movies or even movies encoded with mkv, mp4, divx, svcd, vcd, xvid, avi, mpg… Again, with the player of your choice! And the whole thing is controlled with, thanks to touchscreen, solely with your fingertip. For freaks there is actually the chance to control by speech. You simply need a software like ViaVoice or Dragon Natural Speaking…

This is all?

No! With the CarPuter (Car Computer) and particularly with the Windows-based ones, you have the possibility to install all the software you know and like. Thinkable is an address administration, a system for sales representatives, a driver’s logbook. And when you have children onboard, you can calm let them play a computer game. Or they can watch TV in your car. Also possible is networking with wireless or cellular connectivity. Imagine that: Place your car in your garage (or on the street) and transfer your mp3-collection from your office!

You see, the possibilities are almost unlimited! And the whole thing for a price, you will not believe. For about 600 EUR you are a proud owner of a CarPuter (Car Computer) you can stick into the DIN-slot, the glove box or the trunk and with a VGA TFT display with touchscreen and brilliant quality you are on the go! Much better and with a higher resolution than those other displays from navigation systems.

Moreover, if your car amplifier does not have an AUX-IN input, you can either feed the pc sound with an adapter cassette or a FM modulator (old style). Also, there are several car-specific AUX-adapters available. But, nevermind… Nowadays, there are many all-in-one carputers with all functionalities (dvd, movie and music player, gps navigation, RDS radio, built-in amplifiers for your car speakers, games, parking assistance, etc.).

So, what are you waiting for? Start today reading our blog and you will surely find what you need!

UPDATE

Comparison between vehicle computers and other mobile IT devices such as PDAs, laptops and tablets

PDAs, Laptops & Tablets Dedicated Vehicle PC
Robustness These devices, which are often very fragile, are constantly handled by the user and are therefore much more likely to be damaged, either during use or transportation. The PC itself is never handled by the user, reducing the risk of accidental damage to almost zero. The only parts of the system that are handled by the user are the display and wireless keyboard, and in the unlikely event that these do fail they can be swapped for replacements very rapidly. All programs, data & settings remain on the PC itself.
Security The device moves around constantly and can easily be lost or stolen, resulting in the loss of both a valuable piece of equipment and potentially irreplaceable data. The PC, where all your data and most of the system’s value reside, remains permanently in the vehicle. Because it is normally completely out of sight, and can be bolted to the vehicle chassis using anti-theft bolts if necessary, it is much less likely to be lost or stolen.

Screens are either made to look part of the vehicle or are very easy to remove when leaving the vehicle.

Screen Size
& Brightness
The screen is part of the device and either cannot be changed at all or is limited to a small range of sizes and screen types, which can only be customised before the unit is purchased. Rgere are available a very wide range of display sizes from 6.5” to 15” and beyond, including sunlight readable versions. Screens are extremely easy to upgrade in the future (e.g. for a larger or brighter model as screen technology advances).
Screen Mounting Laptops are impractical for in-vehicle use due to their extremely large physical footprint. Balancing a hot laptop on your knees, or twisting round to view one that is resting on a passenger seat, is no recipe for efficient or ergonomic mobile working.

Tablets normally need to be mounted on the dashboard using a docking cradle. Because they are heavy and bulky the range of mounting options is severely limited. Our dedicated on-dash displays are light and compact, allowing for a much wider range of mounting options.

PDAs normally need to be mounted on the dashboard. Their small screen size means they need to be mounted as close to the driver as possible, which is often impractical.

Touch sensitive screens can be mounted anywhere in the vehicle, including:

  • In-dash
    • Neatly integrated into the vehicle dashboard
    • Does not require removal when the vehicle is parked
  • On-dash removable
    • Light and compact because they are only screens, and contain no other electronics
    • Very easy to rapidly remove from the vehicle
  • Sun-visor integrated
    • Positioned directly in front of the user for the most ergonomic setup
    • Completely covert – does not need to removed when the vehicle is parked
  • Headrest integrated
    • Trimmed into the headrest for a very professional look
  • Roof mounted
    • One screen can serve more than one person
    • Covert when not in use
  • Use of vehicle’s existing display
    • Dashboard remains totally unchanged
    • Totally covert
Performance PDAs and tablets often have very limited processing power and storage capabilities. See below for further information about how limited PDAs really are. As standard our vehicle PCs can feature processors up to an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz, with hard drives up to 500 GB. If you need greater performance we can always build a system to your specs.
Installation If these devices are to be used in a vehicle they still require professional installation in order to install a docking station, a cost which is often neglected in the planning stages of a mobile IT project. In addition, because the service is likely to be carried out by a third party company rather than the supplier or manufacturer, there is potential for confusion if the installers are unfamiliar with the equipment. There are dedicated companies that can professionally install vehicle PCs as part of the package. Having the whole process, from manufacture to installation, carried out by the same company makes for a much smoother experience.
Customisation These devices are usually mass produced, with little or no customisation available. Carputers can be built to exact specifications.
Data Input PDAs use a very small on-screen keyboard, and if a physical keyboard is available it is extremely cramped.

With tablets and laptops the physical keyboard, if present, is fixed to the chassis and cannot be detached, which makes it difficult to use in a vehicle environment.

Wide range of data input methods, including:

  • Full-size compact wireless QWERTY keyboards
  • Touch sensitive displays
  • Voice recognition for rapid dictation of documents or emails
Use in the field outside of the vehicle Can be used outside of the vehicle, unless:

  • It happens to be raining
  • The batteries have run out
  • Heavy vehicle-bound accessories such as printers tie the mobile device to the vehicle anyway

If your application really does require mobile devices to be used outside of the vehicle then a dedicated vehicle PC can work with these devices, maximising mobile working efficiency by giving users the best solution while both in and out of the vehicle.

OK, we do accept that laptops etc may score a point here. But portability is a disadvantage if it isn’t absolutely necessary, and there are many applications that do not require the system to be used outside of the vehicle.

PCs fully integrated into the vehicle can perform:

  • Turn on and off automatically with the vehicle ignition
  • Play sound over the vehicle sound system
  • Driver-related functions such as navigation and hands-free phone control

A docking station is also in development that will allow the vehicle PC to be rapidly removed from the vehicle if required, so that it can be used in an office or home as a standard desktop PC.

We hope you agree that our PCs are infinitely more suited to being used while in a vehicle, which in most cases is where users spend the majority of their time.

Carputers are more functional, robust, user friendly and expandable than PDAs

Why have an imitation of a computer when you can have the real thing? Consider the following facts:

  • Users are more likely to be familiar with Windows XP or Windows 7 than with Windows Mobile or other proprietary PDA operating systems
  • PDAs have small screens – the larger screens of our car computers provide enhanced user comfort.
  • PDAs aren’t suitable for significant data input – the wireless QWERTY keyboards and voice recognition features of our car computers are much more suitable for composing emails or documents than tapping on a tiny on-screen keyboard.
  • PDAs are not upgradeable and become obsolete relatively quickly. By contrast we can upgrade our car computers in any way after the initial purchase so that they can take advantage of the latest features.
  • PDAs support a very limited range of hardware devices. If you need to use a specialist hardware device in the field, your hardware is far more likely to be supported by a vehicle-based computer running Windows XP or Windows 7 than a PDA.
  • PDAs support a very limited range of software. Only specially designed ‘mobile’ software can run on PDAs. Our car computers can run any program that runs on Windows XP or Windows 7, giving you access to a vast range of applications.
  • PDAs have poor storage capabilities. Our computers can have high capacity internal hard drives (currently up to 500 GB), which no PDA even comes close to. Getting data on and off our car computers is also very easy, with dashboard mounted USB2.0 ports, DVD-RW drives, 52-in-1 card readers, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G internet.
  • PDAs are fragile and easy to break. Drop a PDA and there’s a good chance the device will break and your data and programs could be lost. The most vulnerable part of our car computers is what the user interacts with – namely the display and wireless keyboard. In the unlikely event that these do malfunction they can both easily be replaced. The PC itself, which is the most valuable component and is where your data, programs and settings are stored, is installed safely out of reach elsewhere in the vehicle, creating a much more robust system.

The carputers thus provide a far more cost effective solution than PDA devices. For businesses there are leasing options over one, two or three years, removing the need to pay a large upfront sum, and giving you flexible hardware that will save significant costs in the long term.

Car computers can do a lot more than standard in-car devices

A wide range of devices are now available, both as factory-fitted options or aftermarket add-ons, that can bring modern features to your car, including sat-nav systems, hands-free kits, mp3 players, DVD players and TV tuners.

Carputers can perform all these ‘ordinary’ functions, while at the same time giving you access to facilities that only an internet-enabled PC can provide, including:

  • Web browsing
  • Email access, including verbal read-out of new emails and voice recognition for composing
  • Real-time access to the data and programs stored on your office PC, using Remote Desktop
  • Printing and scanning facilities without returning to the office
  • Use of any program that runs on Windows XP or Windows 7

Carputers are more professional than using removable devices

A vehicle cabin containing a scattered collection of aftermarket in-car devices, with power cables running over or around the dashboard, is extremely untidy and unprofessional. But it can also be dangerous, especially if cables are allowed to interfere with vehicle controls, or if devices obstruct the driver’s view of the road or are not adequately secured.

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