Chrysler is to offer a Wi-Fi hotspot in next year's Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep models, allowing passengers in the car to surf the information superhighway while struck in traffic on the real one.
The technology comes from Autonet Mobile, and comprises a Wi-Fi access point connected to a 3G telephone network. Chrysler reckons it's going to cost $449, plus a fitting cost of up to $50, and a $29-a-month connection contract with Autonet Mobile.
That's ten dollars less than Autonet would charge a retrofitting punter, and they list the router at $595, so pre-installation is the cheaper option.
Autonet Mobile has done deals with companies such as Avis to fit their kit into cars, offering the service at $10.95 a day, but Chrysler is the first company to offer the kit pre-installed in new vehicles. The Chrysler product is branded UConnect Web, and there's a nice video on the Chrysler blog of Keefe Leung, Manager of Advanced Connectivity Strategies for Chrysler, demonstrating the system.
Of course, a Nokia N95 loaded with the Walking Hotspot software achieves much the same thing, though perhaps without quite the range around the vehicle - but then Chrysler sees most usage taking place inside.
Chrysler does emphasise that the system is designed for use by passengers. In our experience few Dodges or Jeeps actually carry passengers, but those other seats must be there for some reason. ®