Ever feel a compulsive need to check your Facebook status, tap into YouTube, or Tweet your status from a moving vehicle? (We’re talking about doing these things safely, not while driving!) American automaker General Motors wants to help those dreams come true: the company has just expanded its partnership with san Francisco’s Autonet Mobile to offer Wi-Fi Internet routers as dealer-installed options on selected Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC vehicles. The systems will be available from GM dealers, as well as from gmextras.com.
“Ninety percent of customers prefer surfing the Internet over just watching movies,” said Autonet Mobile CEO Sterling Pratz, in a statement. “Customers want the biggest brands the Internet has to offer in their car such as Facebook, YouTube, and FlyCast Internet radio.”
Autonet Mobile puts a Wi-Fi router in the vehicle, and connects to the “largest nationwide 3G network” in the United States (read “Verizon”) to provide connectivity while the vehicle is underway. Typical download speeds average 400–800kbps over 3G connectivity; uploads run about 128–300Kbps. Initially the device will only be offered in family-oriented crossovers, trucks, and SUVs. The device comes with a docking station, which means it can be moved between GM vehicles.
The Autonet Mobile router carries a retail price of $499; the service itself is $29.99 a month, with a minimum of a one-year service contract required.