Wi-Fi on the go: GM adds Internet connectivity to its utility vehicles

GM announced today that they are now offering in-car Wi-Fi, the technology that connects your smart phone, laptop and other wireless internet devices to the Internet.  It’s called Chevrolet Wi-Fi by Autonet Mobile, and it turns your Chevrolet vehicle into a mobile Wi-Fi spot, like your local Starbucks, except you won’t have to buy a cup of coffee to use it.  Continue reading for more details.

Chevrolet Wi-Fi will give you about a 150-foot radius around your vehicle in which Wi-Fi-enabled devices will have Internet connectivity.  The upside is that it supports multiple devices, so everyone’s laptop can work.  The downside is speed, as Chevrolet Wi-Fi will use the local cellular network, and is currently offering speeds of only half what newer smart phones can receive.  As a mitigating factor, or to make up for the slow speed, the Chevrolet Wi-Fi system uses special technology to ensure that connections aren’t broken while in motion, and being able to use your laptop, and therefore view its screen, is a big deal.

The Wi-Fi system will be available as a dealer-installed accessory from the GM Extras web site, and there are extra docking stations which will allow owners to swap the Wi-Fi system’s brain between GM vehicles.  The introductory price, until December 31st, 2009, is $399, minus a $200 mail-in rebate, with a monthly charge of $29, which is a lot cheaper than what your cellular provider would charge to connect your laptop to the internet through its network.

This new add-on should be a boon for those who really need a mobile office or need Internet connectivity at a job site, as well as teenagers who want to keep in touch with friends on the ride home from school.  Salespeople who only get email on their Blackberry or iPhone can now get updated presentation materials directly on their laptop, right before entering a client’s office.

The compatible Chevrolet vehicles is:

  • Equinox
  • Traverse
  • Silverado
  • Tahoe
  • Suburban
  • Avalanche
  • Express

by John Suit

Source: General Motors

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