Sony Launches Three Linux-based Car Navigation/Infotainment Systems

Sony's 3D mapping displaySony’s new range of in-car navigation systems, the NV-XYZ 33, 55 and 77 feature remarkably advanced 3D mapping, media players, GPS, hard drives and based on the Linux kernel.

The 3D mapping interface is clear and brightly coloured, and features representations of the actual buildings that you’re driving past to find that little store in Akihabara that has some of those Tom Nook figurines left over. In fact, the 800 x 480 pixel touch screen display throws around so many pastel polygons it looks just like Crazy Taxi. Depending on your driving style, of course.

Advertising for petrol stations and fast food outlets are built into the maps, making the 3D world you’re driving through even more accurate/annoying.

As the systems are for the Japanese market exclusively, maps are only available for Tokyo and other locations in the country.

Other software supplied with the units include a web browser, an email client and a word processor (no doubt for filing out those insurance claims after being distracted by too many in-car gadgets).

The 200 x 104 x 49 mm units are based on a MontaVista Hard-Hat Linux distribution, all models have CF card sockets for wireless cards and a USB2.0 interface for connecting to your PC. DVDs can be downloaded to the unit’s hard drive for viewing on the road.

The units are priced at 155,400 (33), 176,000 (55) and 207,900 (77) yen respectively. (€1164, €1319 and €1558).


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?