Beemers Get WiFi

from the for-the-chauffeured-driver-in-your-life dept

There have been plenty of stories about techies with a lot of time on their hands adding a WiFi network to their cars, but it looks like BMW (with the help of HP) are going to be the first to release a WiFi-enabled vehicle. The focus is on the incredibly narrow market of those who get chauffeured around, with the idea that those people are important enough that they need to be able to use their laptops in their car. Basically, it’s a WiFi access point in the trunk with a GSM or GPRS backhaul connection to the outside world. They eventually expect the price point of such a system to come down so they can offer it for others who may need internet access in the car, such as the traveling salesperson. Of course, you have to wonder what good the WiFi really does? The backhaul is painfully slow GPRS (which, one hopes, HP and BMW will design so it can be upgraded to a 3G platform when necessary). So, why bother with the WiFi at all? Why not just get a GPRS (or 3G) laptop modem and connect directly? Without a compelling application that ties into the vehicle itself (and, as you might imagine, their suggestion that police can beam you a speeding ticket does not qualify), it’s hard to see why someone will want to pay extra for this feature. There has been talk of using an in-car WiFi connection to do things like transfer MP3s from your home network while parked in your driveway. Applications like that make a lot more sense than just an internal network to connect your laptop to some slow cellular backhaul.

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