New Fiat 500 has Windows Mobile entertainment & comms system

Chris Davies - Jul 5, 2007, 4:40pm CDT

My whole family has a soft-spot for the original Fiat 500, as my Mom used to have a bright red one many years ago.  Sadly it was written-off after someone drove into the side of it at an intersection, but with the launch of the new 500 I have a feeling she might be hankering for this modern-day blast from the past.  It’s no slouch in tech terms, though; while the original made do with a buzzy sub-600cc engine mated to a 4-speed manual gearbox, the new car has a choice of 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4 litre engines and up to 100bhp.  But the eagle-eyed among you might notice something out of place; there’s a Microsoft logo in the cabin.


 Fiat 500 - Blue & Me media/communications system

It turns out that Fiat, Microsoft and a components company, Magneti Marelli, jointly developed a Windows Mobile-based media and navigation system for the 500 (and other models in Fiat’s range).  Called ‘Blue & Me’, it features voice activation, a dashboard screen and steering-wheel buttons, and Bluetooth to connect to a cellphone.  Music can be played from anything hooked up via Bluetooth, SMS messages are read out and it functions as a hands-free kit for calls; there’s also a USB socket for you to plug in a flash memory stick with music stored on it.

 Fiat 500

Upgrades include sat-nav and enhanced communication tools, while interactive navigation services, address look-up, weather and traffic reports and even satellite theft tracking are planned for future developments.  For anyone looking to make a jaded “you don’t want a BSOD when you’re doing 70mph!” joke, rest assured that Microsoft’s involvement doesn’t go as far as the engine.

 Fiat 500

I love the look of the new 500, and I’m really looking forward to test-driving one.  Personally I find the BMW Mini to be a little soulless and arrogant, whereas the Fiat is more cheeky.  Rumour has it that it’ll make it to the US in 2010.

 Fiat 500

Fiat; See Autoblog for launch coverage & gallery; Jalopnik for accessory & options list

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