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BMW introduces Net-equipped limousine

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(IDG) -- Luxury car maker BMW Group AG is rolling out a limousine equipped with a mobile multimedia office. The prototype, based on BMW's L7 model, was introduced this week at the Automobilsalon 2001 show in Geneva, said BMW spokesman Friedbart Holz.

The built-in computer, built around Intel Corp.'s Celeron processor, features an infrared keyboard and a retractable 15-inch flat screen, accessed from the back-seat passenger compartment by pressing a button on the wall behind the driver's seat. DVD (digital versatile disc) movies, TV programs, and video teleconferences can be watched on the same screen.

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Mobile Internet access is via the GSM (Global Standard for Mobile Communications) system that is standard for mobile phone calls in Europe, said Holz, adding that the quality of access depends on the reception in a given area.

While it's possible to work while the car is moving, "We recommend stopping somewhere with good reception," he said.

The car is not slated for regular production, but "if a customer came to us today and wanted to order one, we'd build it."

These wheels are not cheap, however. Holz said that, largely because of the custom-built interior wall, the prototype is worth some 500,000 marks (US$236,000).




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