US$400 device (plus US$50 a month) turns your car, home, or hotel room into a personal WiFi Hotspot
By Mike Hanlon
January 3, 2007
January 4, 2007 The era of permanent internet connectivity moves a step closer at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week when Autonet Mobile launches its new wireless service that turns any car into a WiFi Hotspot. The company also plans to announce an agreement with a world leading car rental company (thought to be Avis) to offer a portable, wireless Internet service in its rental vehicles by the end of the first quarter. The rental availability of this service looks particularly enticing for road warriors travelling to distant cities and their ability to stay in 24 hour contact with the company network. With the first Wireless Broadband Mobile Network, Autonet Mobile provides access to new entertainment and infotainment possibilities for passengers - they can check email, surf the web, play massive multi-player games and communicate via any WiFi-enabled device. The service is optimized for the in-car experience, and is specifically designed to work on 95 percent of U.S. roads, regardless of driving conditions or location. Simply plug the unit into a cigarette lighter or standard wall plug and go. The US$400 Autonet Mobile Unit comes with a monthly service charge of US$49 and turns your car into a secure mobile hotspot, allowing multiple WiFi-enabled devices to connect, and giving passengers unparalleled access to data, music, games, chat, and anything else they might like to access in their second home—the car. Moreover, the device can easily be removed from the car and put into a small bag. Thus, users can shuttle between the car and a residence, hotel or vacation spot, extending the usability of the Autonet Mobile Service beyond the car. For business travelers, families on vacation or couples on the go, bringing connectivity out of the car and into the hotel room is an additional benefit. This is a killer app in our humble opinion!
Autonet Mobile’s patent pending TRU Technology enables seamless Internet connectivity so that passengers stay connected while driving. TRU Technology provides intelligent, dynamic automatic session management between high/low speed networks, producing a reliable user experience. The Autonet Mobile Service ensures a secure, broadband-level connection to any WiFi-enabled device within close proximity to the vehicle.
“We live in a car centric society and our Autonet Mobile Service is directly addressing the communications needs of today’s drivers and passengers,” said Sterling Pratz, CEO of Autonet Mobile. “Today, 40 percent of all SUVs and station wagons come equipped with media centers, supporting music and DVD’s, yet, do not support today’s connected lifestyle of the Internet, e-mail and social media. We are putting the connected lifestyle in the car with an easy to use service for executives and families on the go.”
According to Dave Whetstone, wireless industry veteran and co-founder of Virgin Mobile USA, “The auto industry has been searching for a practical in-vehicle Internet solution for almost a decade. Autonet Mobile’s unique approach has been optimized around the specific challenges of keeping laptops, UMPC’s, gaming devices and other WiFi enabled devices connected while driving. The Autonet service will help to fill consumers’ insatiable need to stay connected, even while on the road.”