What Does Carputer Mean?

A carputer, derived from the words “car” and “computer”, is a mobile computer that is designed for automobiles. Most carputers are built through desktop PC tools from smaller form factors. The first carputers were used for playing music and movies, Internet connection, and navigation. Carputer uses also include smart technologies like GPS, Bluetooth and touchscreen interfaces.


A carputer is also known as a Car PC.

Techopedia Explains Carputer

There are three types of carputers: original equipment manufacturer (OEM) infotainment systems, aftermarket head units, and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects.

  1. OEM infotainment systems are the most common carputers. They are available for all types of vehicles, and are seen frequently in luxury automobiles. They include touchscreen access to climate control systems, multimedia options, turn-by-turn navigation and even hands-free calling using a paired cellphone. They are, as the name suggests, mainly used for entertainment and information.
  2. Aftermarket head units are carputers that provide almost the same functionalities as the OEM infotainment systems. The difference is that they be implemented in older automobile models. Some features of aftermarket head units include touchscreen controls, GPS navigation, Bluetooth, Internet access and smartphone integration. They have very similar features but differ in hardware and design. OEM infotainment will feature more premium components and the price to go with it.
  3. DIY carputers are different from the other two because they are custom-built by an individual. They are built from platforms like PCs and laptops, netbooks and tablets. They can be connected to the Internet or to a local media server, function as a navigation system, provide mobile wireless TV accessibility and play video games.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…