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Chrysler Infotainment System To Connect Without Smartphone

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On: Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 2:36PM | By: Chris Weiss

Chrysler Infotainment System To Connect Without Smartphone

Chrysler and Sprint announced a new partnership that will make in-vehicle infotainment a little more streamlined. The latest version of Chrysler's Uconnect system, Uconnect Access, will connect to the Internet without a smartphone. The new system will allow drivers to use Internet features like music streaming while passengers connect laptop or tablet computers via the wireless hot spot.

Many vehicle infotainment systems leverage smartphones for their Internet connectivity. With the help of Sprint, the new Uconnect will turn the car itself into a rolling Wi-Fi hot spot thanks to embedded wireless hardware.

If you're wondering why Chrysler chose the third largest cellular provider, Marios Zenios, Head of Uconnect Systems and Services, Chrysler Group LLC. explains: "Key factors in our decision to choose Sprint included Sprint’s best-in-class end-to-end telematics platform, secure and reliable network, unparalleled relationships within the telematics and broad Machine-to-Machine (M2M) ecosystem, and nimble consumer market experience, including a deep understanding of how customers experience and interact with wireless-based applications, both in and out of the vehicle."

The Uconnect system uses voice controls for hands-free operation of things like music, navigation and phone calls. There is also steering wheel-mounted controls. It offers one-push access to 911 and roadside assistance.

While having integrated Internet connectivity should make infotainment a little more seamless, the service will not come free. Chrysler hasn't announced pricing, but Auto News reports that there will be a fee paid directly to Chrysler. On the plus side, the system will be able to roam competitor networks without extra charges.

It seems like Chrysler might be stepping in a backwards direction here. Having Internet access built into your car could certainly be valuable, but paying a separate subscription for it when you're carrying around a smartphone seems redundant. If anything, you should be able to add a nominal fee for in-car service to an existing Sprint account. Otherwise, it's just another bill that you could avoid by opting for an infotainment system that relies on a smartphone connection.

Chrysler and Sprint will pre-screen all apps and sell them in their own app store. So you'll have to purchase or download apps specific to the Uconnect system.

The new Uconnect system will debut on the SRT Viper and 2013 Ram 1500 pickup. We assume it'll make its way to other Chrysler group vehicles from there.



Stephy | 11:13AM (Mon, Aug 20, 2012)

I really like the idea of a mobile hot spot in vehicles. But i don't think people will be willing to pay a monthly subscription to have it when almost every one has smart phones.

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