At first we thought someone had just parked their BMW in the MSI booth, which we thought was kind of strange considering we were on the fourth floor of he new Nangang Exhibition Hall at Computex. On further inspection we found out that Funtoro, an MSI subsidiary, had pimped the car out tech-style.
The car is now kitted out with a server, five 7” touch screen LCD screens, GPS, digital TV, cameras, internet, karaoke, a CD/DVD changer and all sorts of in-car monitoring gadgets like tyre pressure sensors and even a HUD.
The hardware scales from 3 to 50 clients – depending on how much you fork out, and each monitor can work independently of the rest, so the kids don’t argue about what they want to watch. The server comes with space for a notebook hard drive, which is currently 80GB as standard, although it can be ejected and used on a home PC easily enough. If you don’t want to be loading up a central drive every time, just drop it on a USB stick and play it straight from that instead.
The video playback is limited to MPEG 1/2/4 still and it’s all run on a 533MHz “Samsung processor”, so those looking for a performance powerhouse for h.264, OGG, FLAC and more obscure wrappers will still need to build their own in-car PC.
Is this the kind of thing we'll likely need in the cars of tomorrow? Yes and no - there's plenty of choice but no standard connectivity in play apart from the RCA audio and composite video - surely we're in a digital revolution and that could be a HDMI or display port? The HUD is cool, but most new cars have some level of diagnostics built in these days, and it all really depends on how much you want to mod (read butcher, to some) your ride.
Interesting niche? Want-worthy? Or just another company trying to jump on the in-car bandwagon - let us know your ideas in the forums