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Azentek Targeting March For Car PC

After almost two years of delays, the Azentek car computer is expected to reach stores by March, said the company.

Azentek’s most recent delay was caused by a decision to redesign the computer around Intel’s automotive-grade Atom processor, because the earlier processors available would shut down in extreme heat, said the company.

Azentek also improved voice control and upped the memory of its $2,700 Altas Car PC from 80GB to a target 500GB for more space for music and videos.

The planned Atlas Car PC has built-in Wi-Fi so users can pull up to a Starbucks or Wi-Fi hot spot and download email, which the radio may then read aloud to users, as they drive, to save time. The system also permits email responses through voice files or a selection of “canned” replies.

The Car PC allows voice input of addresses for turn-by-turn navigation, where users can name the city, state, street, etc. in increments with confirmations.

Users can also listen to Internet radio as they drive if they plug a wireless air card into the unit.

The device also permits app streaming from an iPhone connected to the Atlas, so users can listen to the Pandora app on the iPhone or they can listen to the audio portion of a CNN app, for example. Bluetooth streaming of Pandora from a cellphone is possible “but you don’t get a fast connection,” said Azentek lead engineer Edelbert Walker.

When a car is in park, users get a full Windows 7 computer with a wireless keyboard and mouse. When the car switches to drive, an automotive-grade user interface switches on with large 1-inch icon buttons, say for Pandora.

In Bluetooth, users get full phonebook support and can use voice to ask the system to “call Bob at home.” It comes with a USB interface for the iPod and Zune and USB flash drives. In navigation, users get spoken street names, and maps of the 50 states plus Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.