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Clarion Affirms MID GPS Unit For Q4

San Francisco — Clarion will ship one of the first Mobile Internet Device (MID) handheld computers in October, and one of the first to offer GPS for use in the car, said Intel and Clarion at an Intel Developers Forum here.

 Clarion’s new palm-sized Internet device was first shown as a prototype at International CES in January. Like other MIDs, the device offers “full PC-like” Internet browsing via its touchscreen but the Clarion unit also has a special car mode, and it has a car cradle and a GPS receiver.

 MIDs are a new category of Intel-based Internet handhelds. They are slightly larger than smartphones but not quite the size of sub-notebooks or ultra-mobile PCs. They are designed to offer easy Internet access and browsing.

 Clarion’s unit connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi or by Bluetooth when paired with a mobile phone.

 When docked in the car cradle, the device switches to a special user interface suited to driving and it locks out video and full Internet browsing, but it allows local Google searches for live point-of-interest information. The car cradle can be linked to the car stereo system via an auxiliary input or hardwired through RCA inputs, so users can playback music stored on the device.

 In portable mode the device provides full Internet browsing and email and has optimized access to YouTube and MySpace. It has approximately two hours of battery life although Clarion will offer an extended battery option.

 The device, with 4.8-inch touchscreen also delivers digital music and video playback. It has a Google Maps/Earth Viewer, PDF viewer, file manager, RSS reader and it delivers weather updates.

 Clarion marketing VP Adam Thomas said, “We’re just trying to drive excitement in the mobile electronics arena. Dealers want more traffic in the stores … an exciting product like this helps them get more traffic.”

 The Clarion Mobile Internet Navigation Device (MIND) runs on Linux using an Intel Atom Z500 processor with 512MB of DRAM and 4GB of storage. It has a built-in GPS antenna and receiver, li-ion rechargeable battery, SD card slot and two USB ports.

            Pricing has not yet been announced.