Windows coming to a car near you

Microsoft has been working hard to put its Windows Automotive software in cars, and last week Microsoft announced such a deal with Fiat. Fiat is an Italian car maker, and has planed to show off Windows Automotive software for its 2005 models. Windows Automotive software will give user's access to the Internet, GPS driving directions, entertainment options, the ability to connect smart phones, and other cool features. All of this will done via a USB port in the dash of the car.

Microsoft announced last week that it has developed a deal with Italian auto maker Fiat to provide in-car computers for all of Fiat's cars. The telematics deal is the first of its kind to actually be introduced in the auto industry, but the idea has been in the works for some time (see our previous coverage).

The plan involves Microsoft giving Fiat its Windows Automotive software platform, which will give drivers the ability to connect to smartphones and PDAs via Bluetooth technology, connect to the Internet, obtain GPS driving directions, and connect to entertainment options. The system will include a USB port in the dash that will allow car owners to plug media players directly into the system; direct access to the auto's diagnostic computer systems will also allow for easier access to information on the vehicle's performance. The system will also include voice-activation and hands-free technology to reduce driver distraction and hopefully increase safety.

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