F-250 with a Mobile Office

Just read about a new Ford F-250 Super Duty truck that will have a mobile office option, a $3000 dollar option that would have add-ons like a digital camera or a credit card scanner. From Yahoo,

The system uses a flat Stargate Mobile computer, powered by the truck’s battery and mounted on a stand between the driver’s seat and passenger seat. The computer has a touch-screen option ? eliminating the need for a keyboard or mouse ? and is designed to be removed from the stand and taken to a work site. It stays connected to the Internet via a broadband wireless cellular card and even has a screen that is visible in direct sunlight.

“It’s super rugged. You can drop it in the dirt, pick it up, brush it off and you’re good to go,” said Patty Dilger, director of North American automotive and industrial equipment for Microsoft Corp., which worked with Ford to develop the mobile office and provides the Windows XP Professional operating system.

Sounds pretty good so far, it says it can play music, I hope this means playing mp3′s thru the truck’s sound system.

Dilger said this is the first time that operating system has been available as a dealer-installed option in a vehicle. Microsoft has an operating system called Windows Automotive 5.0 in about 18 vehicle models, but it’s mainly used for vehicle communication systems such as real-time traffic updates.

The computer in the Ford pickups will be equipped with a full suite of office software, including Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint, and can also play music or be used for navigation.

“It’s not new technology. It’s innovatively packaging very familiar technology,” Hall said. “That’s the best part. It’s user-friendly.”

Dilger envisions a contractor who would be able to review measurements in a blueprint, order a door online and pay for it without having to go back and forth to the office. She emphasized that the system can be disabled or used with voice commands while the owner is driving so it’s less distracting.

When I read this, I had a vision, and the vision was ugly. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more and more aware of what other people are actually doing while they are driving, and it’s pretty scary. Can you imagine the things people will be doing while driving now? I see people reading while they are driving, talking on a cell phone, putting on makeup, etc, now I can see people faxing, typing up an email, playing video games, or answering instant messages! Can you imagine? Instead of chatting on the cell phone, they will be typing it and reading it instead! If the laptop is on, it will be a distraction for the driver, and how long will it be until we have someone try a round of Quake against the driver of another truck at 80 mph? Heck, that’s probably already happened, but you get my meaning. I think this should come disabled from the factory while the truck is in gear, and if it is turned on, that should be a consideration in any traffic accident. Of course that’s just my opinion, what do you think?