Although pickup trucks have become standard personal transportation, for many people, a pickup truck still means what it did from the very start: A work truck. But because work is as much about technology as hauling rocks or whatnot, Ford developed a version of its F-250 for the SEMA Show, the “General Contractor,” that’s also being called the “Ford Mobile Office” as it includes a rugged, light-weight computer with touch screen capability that runs Windows XP Professional. Ford worked with Stargate Mobile (www.stargatemobile.com; Grand Blanc, MI), which provided the computer system, and Microsoft (www.microsoft.com; Redmond, WA) for the operating system. The package will be offered by Ford dealers as part of the “Genuine Ford Accessories” program.
What’s interesting about this deployment is that it isn’t simply a hardened computer that’s plugged in to a vehicle chassis. There is a mounting bracket on the transmission tunnel for the slate-type computer (Transmeta Crusoe 1-GHz process; 256 MB SDRAM; 4 GB flash memory; 8.4-in. SVGA display . . .). Once fitted in place, the computer is powered by the truck’s battery (rather than its internal lithium ion battery). The system can be tricked out with a GPS navigation system—in order to help find worksites—and even a credit card scanner—to help make sure that there’s payment for the job post-haste. Also, there is Internet access for whatever may be of interest. The computer can be removed from the bracket and used while walking around the job site.
The F-250 shown in Las Vegas was built for Ford by California Custom Sport Trucks (www.calcustoms.com; Ft. Lauderdale, FL). In addition to the computer, they installed a Fabtech 6-in. suspension lift kit, Weld Wheels, BF Goodrich tires, and other kits that the stylin’ contractor needs.—GSV