Mini-box.com Rolls Out Low Cost Car PC

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We’ve often felt that while modern digital technology adds real value to our existence and compliments our collective lifestyles, one thing that’s been missing has been a way to make annoying commuting time more productive. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to watch digital movies or slide shows—or just catch up on email or debug that pesky PHP script—in our car?

In-car PCs haven’t been in the realm of science fiction for several years now, but Mini-box.com wants to make the idea more practical and more affordable than ever with its new VoomPC-2 low-power, low-cost in-car mini PC system.

The VoomPC-2 can run either Windows or Linux (it’s built on a VIA X86 1.5Ghz C7 processor), and the motherboard supports VGA and S-Video output, USB 2.0, FireWire, Ethernet, PCMCIA Type I and II, a CardBus interface for hooking up to GPS or Wi-Fi systems, and a 5.1 audio support. The systems also offer an M1-ATX intelligent power supply which manages battery use so the PC automatically drops certain functions of the car’s battery drops beneath 11.2 volts—so you have some assurance thePC won’t suck your battery dry if you get snowed in for a week. The VoomPC-2’s total power requirements range from 15 to 35 watts, which is less than even the dimmest parking lights. The system also handles temperature extremes, from as low as -40° to 55°C (-40° to 131°F).

“Car PCs have always been a dream that has been fraught with a multitude of power challenges,” says Andrei Bulucea, president of Mini-box.com. “The VoomPC platform has solved those issues in one, mass produced, low cost package. Combined with the power and flexibility of running standard Linux or Windows operating systems, in-car computers are no longer limited to proprietary telematics applications, which means OEMs and system integrators can now provide best of breed applications regardless of the operating system or customer environment.”

The barebone VoomPC-2 runs $399; the VoomPC-2 CarPC enclosure is an additional $199.95.

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