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Xsara Windows CE Xsara restyle

Citroën is opening a new avenue in automotive design at the Geneva 2000 Motor Show with the Xsara Windows CE, the first volume produced communicating car. A mid-range vehicle aimed at a broad public, the Xsara Windows CE is the result of a three-year partnership with Microsoft. It boasts an exceptional range of features and equipment, including several world firsts.

  • The first "Windows" car 

  • The first communicating car equipped as standard with a dual-band GSM communication system and a colour navigation unit. 

  • The first car to be equipped with a voice recognition system controlling operation of the information system.  

The Xsara Windows CE will be marketed in two successive series of 250 vehicles during the first half of 2000. A saloon model fitted with the 2.0 HDi engine, the Xsara Windows CE offers a generous range of equipment including four front and side airbags, ABS brakes, air conditioning with automatic temperature control, front and rear power windows, alloy wheels and alcantara upholstery. The Xsara Windows CE is available in metallic Mauritius Blue.

The functions installed on the Xsara Windows CE include a radio, CD player, address book, hands-free telephone, navigation system, SMS, e-mail, data transfer to and from a portable peripheral.

With the Xsara Windows CE, Citroën becomes the world's first carmaker to equip a mid-range vehicle with an array of features marking a fundamental revolution in the automotive world. This revolution is based on the development of NICTs (new information and communication technologies). The objective is to adapt the Microsoft concept to the car, so that everybody can have access to information, no matter where they are.

A complete technological offering

The Xsara Windows CE is equipped with a PC designed to ISO standards and running under the Windows CE operating system.  An Ericsson T28s mobile phone, fitted as standard, plugs into the computer. The PC is directly linked to a GPS receiver and to a six-CD stacker. It is also equipped with a CD player positioned behind the removable front panel, which is used to read data on the navigation CD and to run other programmes.
 

Equipment characteristics

     

  • TFT high-resolution 8-colour screen (256 x 64) 

  • Hitachi SH3 processor, 16 Mb D~M 1 8 Mb ROM 

  • Removable front panel 

  • Infrared communication port 

  • Port for flash compact card (data storage and back-up) 

  • Microphone for voice recognition 

  • AM/FM tuner 

  • Windows CE 2.12 operating system 

  • CD-ROM Navtech for the navigation system. 

With the Xsara Windows CE, the driver will be able to build up remote support for his own information system and to set up telematic communications with other information systems (companies, partners, and so on).
 

A realistic offering in terms of services and cost

Progress in miniaturisation and connector technology has made it possible to produce compact computers able to flinction in the complex environment of a car (with such constraints as temperature variations and vehicle movement on uneven road surfaces).
Similar progress has been made in the areas of mobile telephony, voice synthesis and voice control, with significant improvements in quality and continuity of transmission (voice and data).
Industrial production has kept pace with technological progress in this area and, as a result, prices have dropped sharply. The Xsara Windows CE offering of advanced communication equipment is therefore affordable, and can be compared with the price of a home PC.
The possibilities for future development are immense, limited only by our imagination and the telecommunications infrastructure.

Users can already hook up to the Internet with the Xsara Windows CE but only to use the e-mail service. Over the next few years, the service offering can be expected to expand considerably with the reformatting of Web sites, new progress in voice interfaces and above all, the widening of the passband.
Wireless Internet services (GPRS then UMTS) are expected to develop strongly between 2001-2003, and Citroen will be well placed to take advantage of this new potential. The initial service offering will advance in leaps and bounds.
With the Xsara Windows CE, Citroën has positioned itself squarely on the leading edge of technological development in this field and is seeking to establish a market standard.

The Xsara is likely to be restyled shortly.

© 1999 + 2000 Julian Marsh