Are you a Net addict, even in your car? If you're a portable professional, you'll soon have voice access to e-mail and be able to get information from the mighty Web while whizzing along the freeway. Dashboard PCs are the newest addition to cars, allowing you to connect to servers wirelessly and check stock prices, get the news and download information so you'll have the latest data at your fingertips on your way to appointments.
Product choices are limited at the moment. If you need your
motherboard for Internet access, you'll either have to buy and
install a separate dashboard unit, such as Clarion's AutoPC, or
buy a 2001 Cadillac. The AutoPC is a $1,300 dashboard PC complete
with a radio and a CD-ROM that replace the factory-installed audio
system. Because the little PC is voice-activiated, you don't
have to fool with a mouse, diskettes or a keyboard to get
information from the Web. Or, if you really want to splurge, you
can opt for the Cadillac Seville or Deville, whose optional
Infotainment system integrates a PC, a navigation system, a CD-ROM
and radio functions. Data is read to you as you drive. Once parked,
you can store e-messages on your hand-held device or PDA for later
transfer to a desktop PC.
Jill Amadio has reported on the automotive industry for 23 years as an editor and a consultant.