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Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Hi-Tech Creature Comforts Coming to Your Car
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas, the new trend in gadgetry is the ability to bring not just music and driving directions, but your entire digital life into your car.
Auto parts maker Delphi has teamed up with Autonet Mobile to bring the Internet into your car with their new mobile WiFi kit. Simply screw the base station into your trunk, connect the power, and engage the cellular-based broadband Internet signal for a WiFi ride. For a monthly or annual service fee, your friends can update their Facebook profiles, shop online, stream a YouTube video, do a little Internet dating, or search for local nightlife hotspots while in the passenger seat.
Autonet Mobile CEO Sterling Pratz said, “It’s all about extending the Internet lifestyle into the car.”
Select Avis rental locations have been offering the service for $10.95 per day, but the real goal is to go nationwide as an option in new cars. Recently, two San Francisco car dealerships, Volvo and Toyota, started offering the in-car Internet package as an option. Pratz was mum on what dealers would charge, but offered that it would be “much less than an in-car DVD system,” and the monthly fee would be cheaper than a standard $50 per month cellular broadband contract.
In April 2009, a gadget that will complement the Autonet package hits the auto parts after-market. The Grand Blanc, Michigan-based company Azentek, has developed what is essentially an in-dash computer. The Atlas CPC 1200 is a PC/GPS unit that rests in your car dashboard. For the list price of $2,800, you get 160 gigs of storage, DVD/CD drive, Bluetooth, and 6.5-inch LCD touch-screen. This state-of-the-art PC employs an Intel Core Duo processor and runs Windows Vista Ultimate operating system. Bring in the WiFi signal via Autonet and voila, have your e-mail and your buddy list up while you drive.
Microsoft is crowing about its Sync partnership with Ford. An option on every Ford 2009 model, the Sync technology offers voice-activated cell-phone calling and music. A neat feature is audio email, or the computer’s ability to read incoming text messages aloud.
Along with motor vehicle safety, driver education helps ensure the safety of Americans. As this technology becomes main stream please consider your safety and the safety of others when using this equipment in your motor vehicle.