Delphi and Palm demonstrate mobile multimedia

Delphi Automotive Systems and Palm have announced today an initiative to develop new multimedia products and services for vehicles. At a press conference, Delphi demonstrated a prototype of the Communiport Mobile Productivity Center (MPC), that will dock and synchronise with a Palm V handheld using Palm’s HotSync technology, allowing drivers access to Palm content while in the vehicle.

Delphi expects to initially sell the MPC through traditional retail channels as well as next-generation models through automotive aftermarket and OE channels. The system is designed to be used hands-free in the vehicle through voice recognition and a text-to-speech engine to retrieve information from and load information into the Palm handheld.

The companies are planning to coordinate the development of new content delivery and services for customers using the Delphi/Palm system. Customers will be able to access today’s Palm.Net services which include news, weather, sports, financial information, e-mail and Web access as well as other new vehicle value-added services.

As currently planned, the MPC will fit into a vehicle cup holder and plug into a standard 12-volt source such as a cigarette lighter.

The Delphi/Palm system will include two enabling software technologies. Palm’s HotSync technology will transfer data between the Palm handheld and the docking station. Delphi’s voice technologies will enable users to listen to stored data through text-to-speech feedback and to input data into their Palm handheld through voice commands.

With the Delphi/Palm system, users will be able to ask their Palm handheld to download and read e-mail messages, scheduled appointments, memos and other stored information, dictate and send electronic mail, record new appointments and memos, download and read simple Internet text, including directions, breaking news, stock quotes, and sports scores, and request that a phone number recorded in the Palm handheld be dialed through Delphi’s hands-free phone, as part of Delphi’s integrated Communiport technologies.

The Mobile Productivity Center will be available before the end of 2000, with pricing information to be announced at a later date.