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PC on the go: FordLink mobile office goes on sale

Ford unveiled its concept of a mobile office last year at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, and as of today the system, dubbed FordLink, is available for the 2007 F-150 and Super Duty models at all U.S. dealerships. The dealer-installed accessory features a ruggedized touchscreen tablet computer running Windows XP Professional with wireless broadband, and workers on the go can purchase additional accessories like GPS navigation, a printer, digital camera and credit card scanner for taking payments on the spot. The package is the result of collaboration between Ford, Microsoft and mobile solutions company Azentek. Word from Ford is that the system will cost around $3,000, though prices may vary depending on the dealership.
(Ford's full press release can be found after the jump)

[Source: Ford] Thanks for the tip, RJ!

Press release:

The New, innovative FordLink™ business tool makes Ford's hard-working trucks more efficient
  • New FordLink™ business tool makes Ford's hard-working trucks into mobile offices; perfect for busy contractors.
  • The new system will be available on Sept. 1 for the 2007 Ford F-150 and Super Duty models at U.S. dealerships.
  • FordLink™ Mobile Office features a rugged yet lightweight in-truck computer running Windows XP Professional with broadband wireless connectivity.
  • The new 2008 Super Duty will offer even more innovation when it is unveiled at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas on September 28, 2006.
  • DEARBORN, Mich., September 1, 2006 - Ford today announced it is adding another tool to make F-Series pickups, America's hardest working trucks, into the hardest working offices with a new in-vehicle computer, FordLink™. FordLink is a rugged yet lightweight, portable mobile office system available as a dealer-installed accessory through Ford U.S. dealer network.

FordLink™, introduced at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show in October 2005, combines the best productivity tools from Ford, Microsoft and mobile solutions company Azentek, into an intuitive, multi-functional productivity package.

"The FordLink™ system is great for busy contractors or anyone who spends much of their business day on the move," says Ben Poore, Ford Truck group marketing manager. "It makes travel easy by helping you map locations and routes. You can review specs or orders onsite, then take a credit card payment and print a receipt without the delay of dealing with distant offices or stopping at hardware supply stores."

The foundation of the computer system consists of a portable, tablet-style computer running Microsoft Windows XP. Internet access is available through a wireless broadband connection. Other features include GPS navigation with audio prompts, a printer and software to facilitate job bidding, parts purchases and payment processing while 'on location'.

FordLink™ builds on Ford's leadership of offering higher-end truck features to address the changing landscape of the construction industry and contractor needs. In 2003, Ford introduced its highest-end F-Series Super Duty King Ranch models with upgraded interiors, premium yet rugged leather seats and more features. Accounting for nearly 15 percent of Ford's heavy-duty truck sales, the King Ranch model continues to meet increasing demand for trucks that can handle the toughest jobs and also offer refinement, style and versatility.

"FordLink replaces the need to bring lighter-duty, non-integrated laptops and stacks of paper that ruffle around the truck cab," says Steve Weiner, Ford Truck FordLink™ marketing manager. "A truck customer may be hauling people and cargo or towing equipment to a work site during the day, and then delivering bids to their customers at night. Ford Trucks get the job done while making a statement about our customers to their customers.

FordLink™ is a combination of uniquely packed and tested technology that is readily available and user-friendly, meeting the demands of the toughest truck customer. The Azentek computer is a rugged, lightweight touch-screen slate model mounted within easy reach of the driver. When mounted in its vehicle cradle, the computer is powered by the truck's battery and is directly connected to optional equipment such as a GPS antenna, printer, credit card scanner or digital camera.

The touch-screen computer can be removed from the cradle and carried along just like an ordinary laptop, but without the unnecessary weight of a keyboard unless the optional keyboard attachment is needed. The slate design is lightweight and versatile with a screen that is visible in sunlight for easy group viewing to review blueprints or online order tracking. It is also rugged enough to stand up to typical job-site use, including the occasional drop onto a dirt parking lot.

It boasts full Windows XP Professional applications – Microsoft Word and PowerPoint – and the same power of a full-size desktop computer on-the-go. This means owners have in-vehicle, finger-tip access to the familiar programs of the Windows XP-based PC.

FordLink™ will be available through Ford's vast U.S. dealer network that is proven to be the most knowledgeable truck sales force with 58 years of F-Series experience. Dealers are eager to offer the system to expand on the industry's widest-ranging lineup up truck offerings.

"Our customers use their trucks for work and always want more capability," says Sam Pack, president of Five Star Ford in Dallas. "They choose Ford Trucks for their toughness, durability and reliability in getting the job done – and they see FordLink™ as a way to bring efficiency to all of their jobs."

First available on 2007 F-Series trucks, the system will also be available on the new 2008 Super Duty that goes on sale early next year. The new truck will be revealed on Sept. 28 at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.

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