I can see something like this being a big draw for families, just like in vehicle entertainment systems (DVDs and games) have proven to be. However, for $600 plus another $30 a month it is pretty spendy, for a computer based EVDO card you would pay less than $100 plus $60 a month for Verizon’s service, or put another way, almost 2 years of service before the Chrysler system becomes more economical.
However, one big plus is that the Uconnect service is converting EVDO to wifi, which means that wifi equipped portable devices, like iPhones and PSPs, will benefit from the connection.
This is a big opportunity for aftermarket suppliers given that there is nothing that exceptional about the integration of these systems into the vehicle’s onboard bus, basically they take a power connection, much like how aftermarket satellite radios are installed. The integration of onboard electronics to the network appears to be exceptionally limited with no vehicle functions yet taking advantage of the network.
It’s clear that the performance era for mass market automobiles is sidelined while technology solutions move to the forefront to power next generation clean tech innovations, many not exotic at all like variable displacement engines, and passenger compartment conveniences.
Chrysler’s Uconnect Web creates an EV-DO cellular connection that is then converted to Wi-Fi so that many passengers in the car can get secure Web access on their laptops, video game devices and other equipment, simultaneously, without wires, said Sterling Pratz, CEO of Autonet Mobile, which supplies the device to Chrysler.