WHILE A NUMBER of car companies (chiefly Ford, Cadillac and BMW) have rolled out their own integrated mobile internet interfaces in overseas markets, most Australian motorists have yet to sample the benefits of in-car internet.
Here, it has fallen to the aftermarket industry to supply tech-savvy car owners with an internet-enabled computer for their cars. But up until recently, most products were too fiddly, too troublesome and too messy to instal for the average automotive DIY-er.
Now however, Australian company Gizmosis has launched the Atom Car PC onto the market, an Australian-assembled all-in-one device that not only allows you to check your email while away from home, but surf the internet, watch videos and even tap into the diagnostic data of your car's ECU.
Power is supplied to the PC from the car's battery, and the system is switched on and off with the car's ignition.
The Atom is wi-fi capable and can connect to the internet through a 3G modem or 3G mobile phone.
The addition of a GPS receiver enables the Atom to function as a satellite navigation unit, while Bluetooth connectivy also means that a minimum of wires are required.
The whole ensemble is controlled by a 1.6GHz dual core Intel Atom CPU with 2GB of RAM, while a 320GB hard disk provides ample storage space for music, videos and programs.
The Atom's audio outputs also support 5.1 surround sound and internet radio can be streamed directly into your car's speakers, giving passengers the ability to listen to thousands of radio stations from around the world.
Tech fiends who want to keep an eye on their car's vitals can also do so via a cable connection to their vehicle's on-board diagnostic port, as long as the port uses an OBD-II connector.
The Atom costs just under $2500 when bundled with a seven-inch touchscreen monitor. While that may seem a touch expensive, it's worth remembering that the model which preceded it, the G4, cost over $4500.