Subaru explains its decision to include Wi-Fi in the 2011 Outback

After publishing an article recently discussing Subaru's decision to include Wi-Fi into the 2011 Outback, I received a few questions from readers.  I asked Subaru to help provide a bit of an insight into the decision to use Wi-Fi, and some concerns car buyers expressed.

The addition of Wi-Fi is a curious decision, but Subaru believes it has the right idea by offering Wi-Fi.  As mentioned in the previous article, the Wi-Fi option is available starting with the 2011 Outback -- and is a $499 add-on, with a $35 one-time activation.

"We felt that the Wi-Fi service would appeal to and be a good fit with the likes and active lifestyles of our customers,” Subaru spokespeople told DailyTech.

As we already knew, multiple users will be able to utilize the rolling Wi-Fi hotspot -- and "the total number of users is capped at over 200," we were told, "but operates most efficiently with up to 10 users online."

Some readers here on DailyTech and other tech publications seemed unimpressed with the $29 per month required subscription for the service.  

"The $29 a month price is the standard price charged by Autonet for 1GB of data usage monthly," Subaru explained.

Still curious to learn more about the $29 per month plan, I asked Subaru if the company has done any market research to discover if ~$29 is a reliable price point.

"Our vendor (Autonet) has researched the rates charged by other providers and has set their rates at a competitive level in comparison to major carriers."

My 1994 Subaru Legacy, which is approaching 200,000 miles without any major engine issues, will likely get replaced sometime this fall with a 2010 or 2011 car model.  The addition of Wi-Fi hasn't made me show increased interest in the Outback -- but it's certainly an appealing feature.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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