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Vehicular WiFi


Son of Liberty
So I was driving to work this morning and I heard a commercial on the radio for the new Dodge Rams. Normally I could care less about these commercials.. I have my truck and am in no way shape form or fashion in the market for a new one. But this commercial in particular really caught my attention simply because of the perks of its Cabin Tech;

As Detroit feels the noose around its neck, everyone says it's getting what it deserves for years of crappy cars. And it is. But you wouldn't know it by looking at the new Dodge Ram, which is replete with more tech toys than most luxury sedans. The crowning feature: the truck can serve as a mobile WiFi hotspot and link multiple computers or phones to the Internet.

It's not just the mobile WiFi that makes the Ram technologically drool-worthy. Satellite TV, an MP3 music system, a rear backup camera -- if Dodge can put all this stuff in a lowly pickup truck, maybe there is hope for the American sedan after all.

Get close the Ram's dash and you'll find a USB interface right there on the button panel. That USB port allows you to rip music from a device or hard drive onto a 30GB hard drive embedded in the Ram's music system (you can also rip music from the CD player onto the hard drive too.) Though the Ram doesn't allow you to rip and play simultaneously, the way a PC might, it's still a great system.

The trucks' rear DVD entertainment system, played over one of those flip-down flatscreens, also gets Sirius [SIRI] satellite TV (called "Backseat TV" by Sirius) in addition to satellite radio. There are only three TV channels available now, but presumably more will come. You can watch TV on the in-dash screen too, when the truck is in park.

Squirreled away inside the truck's guts is a wireless router, which can connect to Chrysler's UConnect mobile Internet service and dole out a broadband connection to computers, smartphones, and whatever other WiFi device you can think of. It essentially turns your truck into a hotspot that can broadcast in a 100-foot radius using a 3G wireless EVDO connection that shouldn't be interrupted, even if the vehicle is moving -- an industry first. Speeds are anywhere from 400-800Kbps, and the UConnect susbscription is a reasonable $29 a month. It's not blazingly fast, so don't count on parking your truck outside your house and canceling your home Internet connection. But a contractor on the move could use it to send electronic invoices, send progress photos for a homeowner, or even pair it with his T-Mobile [DT] phone to make voice-over-IP calls and save cell minutes.

Dodge's New Ram Is a WiFi Hotspot, Too? | TechWatch | Fast Company
That particular article is old.... from 2008, but still I just thought that this was a really interesting aspect of the same old story that we always here. Now I've also read that the 2010 version of the "uConnect" system
options aren't available on all trims and can add significantly to the Ram's price.
2010 Dodge Ram 1500 Interior Review - Best Cars & Trucks - U.S. News Rankings and Reviews

But I still liked the concept. I know I've been to places with just my truck that I kinda wished I had some internet around me :hah:
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