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Car computer runs Ubuntu 10.10, offers GPS and HSDPA

Feb 22, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 19 views

Vic has begun selling an Ubuntu Linux-based, double-DIN car computer with GPS and 3G HSDPA for approximately $410. Based on an Intel Celeron M processor with 2GB of DDR2 memory, the NaviSurfer II Ubu-3G offers a 250GB hard disk drive, a seven-inch, 800 x 480 touchscreen, and extensive connectivity including multiple camera inputs, says the company.

The NaviSurfer II Ubu-3G appears to be the first Linux model offered in Vic's line of Windows XP-based NaviSurfer II car computers, such as the Single-DIN NaviSurfer II announced in early 2008. Like other NaviSurfer II computers, the larger new Ubu-3G model, which fits in double-DIN stereo bays, is hardly state-of-the-art, featuring a somewhat dated 1.3GHz Intel Celeron M processor.

Yet, for those looking to bring a hackable Linux experience into the car with them, the device appears to offer plenty of features and wireless connectivity for a fairly low price of approximately 300 euros (about $410).

NaviSurfer II Ubu-3G
(Click to enlarge)

Brought to light by an item in UberGizmo, the NaviSurfer II Ubu-3G brings a customized version of the latest Ubuntu 10.10 Linux release to the dashboard. Equipped with 2GB of DDR2, the computer ships with a 250GB hard disk drive (HDD) with anti-shock mounting, says Vic. A microSD slot with up to 4GB capacity is said to be optional.

The Navisurfer II Ubu-3G's is equipped with a seven-inch touchscreen with 800 x 480 resolution, augmented with a number of manual controls and buttons to the left of the display, says Vic. No Wi-Fi is available, but the device offers Bluetooth, 3G HSDPA, and 54-channel, 159dBm-sensitive GPS receivers as part of the standard package. It also includes antennas for 3G and GPS, according to the company.

Two more view of NaviSurfer II Ubu-3G
(Click on either to enlarge)

The Ubu-3G offers three USB 2.0 ports, a serial port, and dual PS/2 ports, says Vic. A/V connections include dual AV-in ports for hooking up external cameras, as well as mic-in, line-in, and line-out audio ports, says the company. The device can automatically switch to a rear view camera when a vehicle is put into reverse, the company adds.

The 7.0 x 7.0 x 3.94-inch (179 x 178 x 100mm) computer fits in double-DIN dashboard bays and weighs 3.52 lbs (1.9 k), says Vic. Operating at 14 to 140 deg. F (-10 to 65 deg. C) temperatures, the device has an "intelligent" power supply with a 9-18VDC input range, shutdown controller, and battery deep-discharge prevention.

NaviSurfer II Ubu-3G, rear view
(Click to enlarge)

Software available on the Ubuntu 10.10 system includes Navit Navigation System software, as well as Internet music and video players. says Vic.


The NaviSurfer II Ubu-3G is available now for 300.50 euros ($411) at Vic's Online Store, which also offers access to other Windows-equipped computers, including more recent models that run on Intel Atom processors. More information on the Ubuntu model may be found at the NaviSurfer II Ubu-3G page.

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