The most exciting news to come out of Chrysler's unveiling of the 2007 Sebring sedan, besides the heating and cooling cupholders, was word that a 20GB hard drive would be available that could store both music and pictures.
TechnoRide got to look at the technology more closely in New York City and has a detailed explanation of what Chrysler's in-car entertainment center can do. Its features include an AM/FM radio, CD/DVD player, embedded Sirius satellite radio with real-time traffic info, the aforementioned MyGiG 20GB HD, a USB jack, line-in jack, two audio outputs, Bluetooth hands-free calling and a 6.5-inch touchscreen with voice control. While Chrysler hasn't revealed what it will cost, the fact it's being offered in a $25,000 sedan rather than an $80,000 luxury car is remarkable enough.
The 20GB HD itself hold all of the navigation software, which precludes the need for a dedicated DVD drive like most nav systems use. It also stores about a 1GB of system software (think operating system) and what's called a Gracenote lookup engine. Since you'll be able to rip CDs into the car's hard drive right on the spot, the Gracenote software is what will generate the artist, title and track information from a database of over 4 million CDs. Aside from ripping CDs directly, there's also a USB on the lower left side of the head unit that allows music and pictures to be transferred from a USB flash drive. There's room for around 1,600 songs to be uploaded depending on their file size.
TechnoRide notes that the MyGiG 20GB HD will also initially be offered in the Dodge Nitro and Jeep Wrangler, before being spread across the model lineup of each brand.
Is this the future of in-car entertainment from the factory? It's a major step forward and we're delighted we don't have to wait years for the technology to trickle down from six-figure luxury sedans before the rest of can use it.