Ford Motor Co. has come up with a way to squeeze an office into a truck.
Ford teamed with Microsoft Corp. (microsoft.com) and Stargate Mobile Inc. (stargatemobile.com) to create a rugged, portable computer system that can be taken to a job site. It is aimed at contractors and other businesspeople who need technology normally found in the office -- for example, Internet access and the ability to process credit cards -- on the road.
The system, called Fordlink, is expected to be available this fall as a dealer-installed option on the 2007 Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup. The price: about $3,000.
Jerry Carlson, automotive business development manager at Microsoft, says: "Ford knows their truck consumer very well. They know a good amount of their truck buyers use them as a rolling office."
Fordlink is designed to be mounted inside a truck and unplugged for use at a construction or other site. The package includes Bluetooth-enabled satellite navigation, word-processing and spreadsheet software, a carrying case with integrated keyboard and mouse, and a vehicle-mounting cradle and hardware.
Fordlink weighs a little less than 2 pounds and has an 8.4-inch touch screen. There also are ports to dock electrical devices such as digital cameras and printers.
Ford would not disclose its sales target for the system.