August 23, 2005 Palm and Audi have announced their collaboration in a new generation of communications solutions designed to improve safety and convenience for drivers: easy and totally integrated hands-free calling inside the car. Using built-in Bluetooth short-range wireless technology and the Palm Treo 650 smartphone, drivers of 2006 Audi A6 and A8 vehicles can make and receive calls totally hands-free using the car's MMI (Multi Media Interface) console, voice-recognition interface or steering-wheel controls.
The Bluetooth integration is a major innovation the two companies are delivering as part of an alliance that includes technology co-development and integrated marketing campaigns that reach the two brands' combined audiences.
"Today people spend more time in their cars than ever before, and mobile phone usage and utility is exploding," said John Hartnett, senior vice president, Americas, at Palm, Inc. "As the convenience of smartphones and wireless access continues to expand worldwide, an important next step was to integrate these technologies into cars in a way that places safety first. Now drivers can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, while using the Treo 650 to communicate with the outside world."
“Audi and Palm share very similar user demographics and leadership in design, technology and brand loyalty," said Stephen Berkov, director of marketing at Audi of America, Inc. "In light of these similarities, we saw a special opportunity in the intersection of car and phone technologies."
With the Treo 650 smartphone, Audi drivers can take advantage of the Treo 650's advanced calling features without ever touching the smartphone. After initiating Bluetooth communications between the Treo 650 and the car, drivers can use the steering-wheel controls, MMI controls on the dashboard, or the optional voice recognition to do the following:
- Pick up or ignore incoming calls
Dial outgoing calls
View active call status, including caller ID
View the Treo 650's call history
Dial from Treo 650 favorites, speed dials, or call logs
Access Treo 650 voicemail
Manage multiple incoming calls
View carrier information, including signal strength and roaming status.
Bluetooth technology comes built-in to the Treo 650 smartphone and is standard in every 2006 Audi A8 and A6, so no extra purchase is required for Treo 650 owners who also own one of these new Audi models. Bluetooth technology also is available on the 2006 Audi A3 and 2006 Audi A4 and S4 sedans and Avants when the vehicles are equipped with the optional phone preparation.
In addition, Audi of America will introduce a special phone cradle that allows the customer to securely dock the Treo 650 smartphone in the central arm rest. The cradle provides a connection to the vehicle's external antenna for optimal reception as well as a power supply that charges the Treo 650 while in the cradle. Customers will be able to purchase the cradle from their local Audi dealer in the next few months.