Car Internet

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.

[From Car Internet Debuts From Chrysler - 8/12/2008 11:55:00 AM - TWICE]

EVDO

I finally bought an EVDO card for my Mac. So far it’s been a great experience, the expresscard driver software is already in Leopard so I didn’t have to load anything, basically it was as simple as taking the card out of the box, inserting it in the slot, and clicking on the “connect” menu item that displayed in the menu bar icon that showed up when I inserted the card.

It’s fast, definitely the best wireless experience I’ve had through a non-wifi network. Verizon’s EVDO costs $60 a month, in addition to the cost of the card, but that’s a small price to pay for widely available fast wireless connectivity.

I work from a lot of different places and hoping to find a wifi connection just wasn’t cutting it. Also, I am finding that wifi is increasingly not free in many public places therefore EVDO is a good hedge against wifi inflation. While my favorite hotel in Denver, The Monaco, offers free in room wifi, a significant number of hotels still don’t so when I’m traveling I no longer have to subject myself to the irritation of paying $10 or more for a 24 hour wifi connection.

The only thing that is kind of annoying is the blinking green light on the card, I may put a piece of tape over it.