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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