By Matthew Henry

HUNTER VALLEY: As the market for sophisticated in-car entertainment systems grows, PC manufacturer Asus will look into releasing in-car PCs, the company revealed today at the Media Connect conference in the Hunter Valley.

Asus, which currently supplies notebook computers to electrical retailers including David Jones and JB Hi-Fi, is currently in a research and development phase for the concept, which would integrate navigation and entertainment with other PC functionality.

While offering no launch details and no specific timeframe, Asus product manager – components, Albert Liang, said the in-car entertainment market represents a growing opportunity for PC makers as people spend more time in the car.

“We see a potential market that we can move into,” said Liang.

“We don’t have a concrete direction yet, but we are definitely looking into it.”

A move by PC makers into the in-car entertainment market would bring them into competition with established brands such as Pioneer Electronics, which recently launched a similar concept with its integrated AVIC GPS and entertainment system.

According to Asus, the idea for some sort of in-car PC was hatched last year because the miniaturization of hardware is making it possible to create powerful and portable PCs with games, music, GPS and wireless connectivity.

“More and more people are spending more time in the car, so that is one of the biggest new markets along with the digital home.”

Addressing delegates at the conference on the subject of the evolution of the PC, Liang also said that within five years PCs will be integrated more discretely into our lives.

“We are going to use PCs in many more environments than we currently use them. We are in a very premature stage of the digital home concept,” said Liang.

“One day you are going to wake up and use [a PC], but you won’t even know you are using one.”