November 1, 2005 7:41 AM PST
Ford squeezes an office into a truck
Water cooler not included.
Ford, which introduced its mobile office Tuesday at this week's Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas, is targeting general contractors with its latest accessories. The mobile system is designed to let contractors bid on jobs, order parts and materials, and process payments from their trucks.
The mobile office system is expected to become a dealer-installed accessory in 2006.
Ford teamed up with Stargate Mobile, Microsoft and California Custom Sport Trucks to provide the lightweight, touch-screen slate computer, which is mounted on the transmission tunnel inside the truck. The computer rests inside a cradle and is powered by the vehicle's battery. The computer also features a touch-screen that is viewable in bright sunlight and runs on Microsoft's Windows XP Professional.
The office system uses a broadband wireless cellular card to keep the computer online continuously and has the ability to connect with a digital camera to transfer images to customers.
Ford's mobile office is the latest move by car manufactures to extend technology into vehicles. Other efforts include integrating Apple Computer's iPod digital audio player into car stereos and voice-activated technology for use inside vehicles.
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