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Linux powers MID-like nav device

Aug 20, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Clarion announced a Linux-based personal navigation device (PND) based on an 800MHz Z500 Intel Atom processor, with 512MB of RAM and a 4.8-inch 800×480 touchscreen. The ClarionMind has a GPS receiver, but no map database of its own, instead connecting to Internet-based map sites.

(Click for larger view of the ClarionMind)

A division of Hitachi, Clarion is best-known as a maker of car audio systems. While it has marketed other navigation devices in the past, the Mind appears to be its first Linux-based device.

Clarion does not refer to the ClarionMind as a mobile Internet device (MID). However, a quote from Intel labels it as such (see below), and it is being shown in the MID Experience Zone today at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

The Mind lacks the dedicated navigation database and voice-related features typical of PNDs like Garmin's Linux-based Nuvi 8xx and Nuvi 5xxx. Instead, it connects to the Internet via its built-in WiFi interface, or via a mobile phone serving as a Bluetooth modem. Once connected, Mind users can interact with online maps and navigation services.

The Mind's software bundle includes a web browser, email client, and an Internet search function intended to locate points of interest (POIs) and download other relevant information to the device, says Clarion. The device offers preconfigured access to “quick GPS maps” from sites like Google Maps and Google Earth, as well as “optimized” MySpace and YouTube applications. Other software includes a PDF viewer, calculator, file manager, RSS reader, and a weather display. The Mind uses an unspecified distribution based on Linux 2.6.22.

Based on an Intel Atom Z500 clocked to 800MHz, the ClarionMind is equipped with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of flash, a micro-SD slot, two USB ports, and a Bluetooth 2.0 transceiver. An in-car docking station option can be set to either Mobile or Automobile modes, with the latter offering “safe access” when driving.

Specifications for the ClarionMind are said to include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom Z500 (800MHz)
  • Memory — 512MB DRAM
  • Flash — 4GB
  • Display - 4.8-inch WVGA (800×480) touchscreen LCD
  • WiFi — type unspecified
  • Bluetooth — Bluetooth 2.0 EDR
  • GPS — antenna and receiver
  • Camera — CMOS
  • A/V - Speaker, amp, headphone jack
  • Operating system — Linux 2.6.22

The ClarionMind concept was based on a collaboration with Hitachi Automotive Systems's Car Information System Division. When the concept was announced at this January's CES, with slightly lesser specs, the company said it planned to add mobile WiMAX and 3G cellular options in the future. However, it seems to be backing away from those claims for now. In addition, the most recent PR mentions nothing about its planned portal for the device, which Clarion had said would be based on the Japanese-language site called Chizuru and Susumu.

Stated Pankaj Kedia, director of Global Ecosystem Programs in Intel's Ultra Mobility Group, “ClarionMiND, based on the new high performance low power Intel Atom processor, should deliver next generation real-time navigation and location services while bringing the rich Internet to MID users.”


The ClarionMind should be available in the fourth quarter, says Clarion.

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