Car Marty by Fujitsu Ten

Console Name: Car Marty
Original Name: エフエムタウンズカーマーティー
Release Date: April 1994
Original Price: ¥120,000
Country of Origin: Japan
Manufacturer: Fujitsu Ten
Discontinued In: 1995

On February 20th, 1993, Fujitsu released the FM Towns Marty, a consolized version of the FM Towns, a series of personal computers also made by Fujitsu. The FM Towns was a revolutionary computer for its time, but the high cost of the system and the fierce competition in the personal computer segment in Japan, were responsible for the sluggish sale of this series of computers. As the FM Towns was an excellent gaming PC, the idea to create a consolized version of it was only natural. Fujitsu was hoping to sell 1,000,000 units in the first year. Sadly, after the first quarter, only a few thousand FM Towns Marty had been sold and Fujitsu was started to understand they would probably never recoup their investment in this endeavour.

Looking for way to increase their return on investment, they finally found their savior within their own company. Fujitsu Ten, a division of Fujitsu dedicated to vehicles radio and localization system, were given the right to use the FM Towns Marty to develop what would become the first in-car multimedia player.

The Car Marty, a multimedia system equipped with advanced car navigation was announced at the motor show in October 1993.

Release in April 1994, the Car Marty MVP-1 was a basically an FM Towns Marty in a smaller form factor. Price at ¥120,000, the entertainment system came will all the same features as the FM Towns Marty and could use the same software as its video-game console counterpart. The most notable difference being the addition of a connector to allow a GPS to be connected to it. The map software requires a PCMCIA card that came with the Car Marty as well as a CD-Rom for the maps. These would also work on standard FM Towns Marty apart from the GPS antenna which cannot be connected on the normal version of the console. The software would also allow for saving and exchanging of route information through the optional 3.5-inch floppy disk (priced at ¥30,000) drive sold separately.

In-car GPS systems were very expensive at the time, so Fujitsu Ten never intended to sell a lot of units. On top of the ¥120,000 for the main unit, an optional navigation kit (NVK-1A) which included a screen to be mounted in the car was selling for ¥90,000. The optional floppy disk drive which was necessary to save any information was another ¥30,000 while a home use kit which included an S-video cable added ¥10,000 to the bill. In total, the full set was costing ¥250,000.

Apparently due to problems with the disk drive mechanism, an updated version of the Car Marty, dubbed the MVP-10, was released in November 2014.  This model is extremely rare as the sales of the MVP-1 were already soaring by then.

In 1995, Fujitsu discontinued the support for the FM Towns Marty. At the same time, the GPS systems were starting to be more common and cheaper to produce, so there was no point for Fujitsu Ten to keep the Car Marty around. The product was then discontinued a year after it’s released.



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