A carputer or carPC is a category of mobile computer or tablet designed or modified specifically to be installed and run in cars. Originally these were based on industrial personal computer technology, but as smartphones and PDAs have become more powerful, and have included useful technologies like GPS and Bluetooth, they have become the predominant base platform for developing carputers.
The recent popularity of carputers has caused the creation of more advanced units that use touch screen interfaces, integrate with vehicles via OBD-II link, and offer a variety of other add-ons like rear-view cameras and GPS. It is now possible to find assembled carputers complete with wireless capabilities and built-in microphones for sale on the internet.
The first (and only) product was sold by Clarion as an aftermarket product. This product utilized a 160 MHz Hitachi's 32-bit reduced instruction set computing (RISC) instruction set architecture running Windows CE. The device had a 256x64 8 color LCD screen capable of displaying information from the navigation program as well as voice recognition and speech capabilities. It also included contacts and calendar applications. The standard version of the AutoPC (sometimes called Auto PC) also included a simple "directions" application which used an add-on GPS module to get the user to their destination. Clarion followed this up with a more sophisticated navigation application with a map display and turn-by-turn directions. It had a suggested retail price of $1799.
Clarion created a follow-up using a next generation version of the Windows CE for Automotive operating system called the Joyride. This included MP3 playback via CD-R and compact flash cards. It also included an improved navigation system, including GPS receiver and gyroscope for inertial navigation.
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- "Microsoft Announces Auto PC, PC Companion Powered by Windows CE 2.0". Microsoft. 1998-01-08. Retrieved 2014-04-22.