updated 02:45 pm EDT, Tue April 24, 2007
HiPe Driv-N Car PCs
HiPe this afternoon tracked down serious car enthusiasts with its new Driv-N in-dash PCs. In contrast to most car computers, the Driv-N is quick enough to run Windows Vista Home Premium and its accompanying Media Center but is also extremely flexible depending on needs: the checklist for every model includes options such as Bluetooth, GPS for navigation, and a rear-view camera for larger cars and SUVs. Optional GSM and Wi-Fi transmitters connect the Driv-N to the Internet even in mid-traffic, HiPe says. Displays are just as varied with anything from motorized 6.5-inch touchscreen (which also hides a DVD drive and AM/FM radio) to a 15-inch, roof-mountable LCD with RCA and VGA input for the computer and a separate AV source.
Every system includes both speech recognition for common tasks without distracting the driver. The same system also includes voice feedback and will read back e-mail, contacts, or other info back to travelers. Support for XM radio is built-in through use of the Internet connection, saving the trouble of attaching a separate receiver.
Pricing varies depending on the choice of processor and screen: at the most frugal level is the Driv-N V15, a headless system with a 1.5GHz Via C7 processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 40GB hard drive that sells for $799. The I20 adds a much faster 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo and starts at $1,199; finally, a complete system known as the I15 includes the 6.5-inch screen and a 1.73GHz Celeron M at a price of $1,589.