For the computer user who can't bear to be unconnected, Chrysler has something for you -- an in-vehicle Wi-Fi system that will turn Chrysler vehicles into rolling hotspots.
Announced Thursday as part of its Uconnect system, Chrysler will offer the system in most of its 2009 vehicles with the in-vehicle router and installation at about $500. The application also requires a $29-a-month subscription fee.
The Wi-Fi application was developed by AutoNet, which pioneered the technology with its TRU mobile IP platform. The AutoNet system, already in use in several Avis rental car locations in the U.S., utilizes CDMA EV-DO Rev. A, which offers speeds of 600 to 800 Kbps on the downlink and 200 Kbps on the uplink.
AutoNet announced the product for use at Avis locations last year. The application, which initially included a Novatel Expedite E 725 Express Mini Card Module, has also been marketed by some auto dealerships.
The Chrysler application will connect users via laptops and smart phones and enable them to carry out a variety of functions. Chrysler and AutoNet have said the system should not be used by drivers while the car is moving. To thwart Wi-Fi piggybacking, the system operates with the key in the ignition.
Chrysler's broader Uconnect Web system also utilizes a 30 GB hard disk to deliver music, radio reception, and some satellite TV service. The carmaker said it improved its Bluetooth capabilities as well to allow a hands-free system to automatically download up to 1,000 phone book entries from supported phones. Voice memos can be recorded using the microphone that's integrated within the rearview mirror. Three memos of up to thirty seconds each can be stored in the system.