Print 18 comment(s) - last by Pjotr.. on Jul 20 at 6:40 AM

Subaru will include an option for Wi-Fi in the 2011 Outback

Japanese automaker Subaru announced it will become the latest car manufacturer to integrate mobile Wi-Fi into vehicles with an introduction expected in the 2011 Outback.

Wi-Fi service requires a $499 add-on charge, $35 one-time activation, and a $29 monthly subscription fee.  The Autonet Mobile in-car Internet helps turn the car into an 802.11 a/b/g hotspot connected to use its 2.5G and 3G networks.

"Subaru Mobile Internet easily allows users to check e-mail, surf the Web or listen to Internet radio and even stream video and post to social networking sites," Subaru said in a recent press release.  "Outback passengers can check weather and traffic, download hiking trails, and even reserve a campsite while they're on the road."

USA Today says the Subaru Wi-Fi service will cost $1,164 for two years, while an Apple iPhone data and voice subscription costs $2,838.  However, the iPhone and other smartphones obviously are portable and can be removed from the car -- but the in-car Wi-Fi is ideal for connectivity to notebooks and other consumer products.

Autonet can also be found in some Cadillac and Chrysler car models.  The addition of Wi-Fi into vehicles is an interesting feature designed to support an increase in Web-connected devices.  Smartphones, laptops and netbooks, and handheld game players all have Wi-Fi access.

The previous slump in car demand led car makers to include additional features, with GPS, MP3 support, Wi-Fi, and other tech-based features. 

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By corduroygt on 7/19/2010 1:41:00 PM , Rating: 3
For less than half of $499 you can get an iphone/android and turn it to a wifi hotspot (iphone requires jailbreak), and it's the same $30 data plan anyway. So why would I pay this much to have it in the car, since most people driving a car carry a cell phone on them anyway? Unlike a GPS system, which really doesn't have a use outside the car, your cell phone is always with you...

By jacarte8 on 7/19/2010 1:57:03 PM , Rating: 2
iPhone doesn't require jailbreak as of iOS4...

By corduroygt on 7/19/2010 2:20:11 PM , Rating: 2
3G/3GS jailbreaks with OS4, the iphone 4 doesn't yet.

By vortex222 on 7/19/2010 2:14:50 PM , Rating: 3
YEAH! Why would i want my car to be the hotspot, AND NOT ME!

By quiksilvr on 7/19/2010 2:56:28 PM , Rating: 2
If it was WiMax, that would be awesome. 4G coverage within a mile of your car. BRILLIANT!

By MrBlastman on 7/19/10, Rating: 0
By YashBudini on 7/19/2010 4:33:34 PM , Rating: 2
"I don't know about you, but when I'm driving I prefer to have my eyes on the road and not on the internet."

The only difference to that is you'll be killed by another driver on the 'Net instead of killing yourself and maybe someone else.

But don't you love how technology trumps reality for all these techy crack addicts? They sure do put the "consume" in consumerism, don't they?

By afkrotch on 7/19/2010 9:04:57 PM , Rating: 2
Just cause it's in your car, doesn't mean you'll drive while using it. Course, there's already smartphones, so wtf is the difference?

I personally think it's a good idea for the mobile business man. Stop at a rest area, pull out the laptop, do a little work, then move on. Course, a usb 3G stick will do the same thing and not cost $499.

By bodar on 7/19/2010 8:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know about you, but I sometimes have passengers in my car. Not saying this is an ideal plan compared to other wireless data devices (smartphone, Mi-Fi, Overdrive, 3G/4G data card, etc.), but it's pretty short-sighted to say this has no possible use other than playing with a laptop while driving. This would be good for road trips. Would be nice to get this on a mini-van or full-on SUV.

By Pjotr on 7/19/2010 1:55:12 PM , Rating: 2
Why not just add a bluetooth access to the GPRS connection?

RE: Bluetooth?
By HrilL on 7/19/2010 3:57:24 PM , Rating: 2
hopefully you mean UMTS(3G) because GPRS (edge) is horribly slow.

RE: Bluetooth?
By Pjotr on 7/20/2010 6:40:46 AM , Rating: 2
Well, GPRS and up, the link uses whatever is available where you are.

Good feature - another driver distraction
By Beenthere on 7/19/2010 10:03:49 PM , Rating: 1
I hope the car makers and braindead drivers get sued for BILLIONS of dollars for the accidents these devices cause along with cellphones, text messaging, DUIs, etc. Prison time should be manadatory for anyone using these devices while driving and involved in an accident.

By raumkrieger on 7/19/2010 10:25:54 PM , Rating: 2
NO. For one we don't need to be giving the scum of the earth (lawyers) any more money, and we definitely don't need more laws designed to protect people so dumb they are incapable of protecting themselves.

By bodar on 7/19/2010 11:12:32 PM , Rating: 2
Why would people be suing the car makers? If someone hits you because they were changing the radio/CD or adjusting the AC, do you get to sue Ford? No. If they're on their cellphone, can you sue Motorola and Verizon? No. Stop being a wanton idiot, just because you think everyone should go to jail.

How many is too much...
By maevinj on 7/19/2010 1:43:39 PM , Rating: 4
Another data plan to pay for? Seriously?

Pretty much a fail
By rocky12345 on 7/19/2010 8:34:33 PM , Rating: 2
wow what a bad idea this is. Liek we need more people on the road surfing the internet or on facebook while driving in traffic. Also $29 a month really forget that crap I already have a data plan so if I need to pull over & find an address or whatever I do just that from my Touch screen laptop which is tethered to my phone while I am mobile but I stress that I pull off of the road first to do stuff like that. Having this built into a car is just asking for people to think it is ok to Surf & drive. I hope these are not allowed in the USA or Canada & if they are I really hope that once you put the car in drive the Wireless automatically shuts off if not like I said instant fail.

RE: Pretty much a fail
By afkrotch on 7/19/2010 9:10:52 PM , Rating: 2
So those with smartphones can surf away, while driving, but those with this aren't? Also what if you have kids with their laptops. I mean, this is built into a Subaru Forester. I expect ppl buying them to have families. It's not exactly a luxury SUV, where a rich person buys one just for themselves.

I think having the wireless automatically shut off is pretty pointless. I'd just tether a phone to a laptop or buy a 3G stick instead.

I probably see more ppl almost get into an accident talking on a phone, playing with their smartphone, or screwing around with their GPS. The iPad has built in 3G, ppl can dink around with those. Ppl with laptops in the car? Have yet to see someone driving and attemping to use their laptop. It's quite cumbersome, unless you have a laptop mount in your car, which almost no one does. I don't expect wifi in the car to change that.

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