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Buick, Chevy, And GM Join Cadillac On The Info Superhighway

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Caddy goes high-tech

Caddy goes high-tech

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Back in March, we mentioned that Cadillac planned to offer Wi-Fi routers as a special option on most of its vehicle lineup. Now comes word that General Motors is extending the service, making on-the-go high-speed web access available on Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC models, too.

Like the Cadillac system, the Wi-Fi router GM will use comes from San Francisco's Autonet Mobile, and the cost of the hardware will still ring in at about $500 (uninstalled). Monthly service is advertised at $29 a month, although that's the figure for 1 GB of data transfer; for those who plan on heavier usage, there's a 5 GB plan for $59 per month. The router comes with a docking station, meaning that it can be removed and plugged into any other GM vehicle outfitted with a dock, which seems pretty handy for business types and families with a penchant for road trips.

The real story here is that General Motors is making the router a dealer-installed option, not just an add-on to be purchased from a parts store or other aftermarket retailer. GM says that the service will first be available in GM vans, SUVs, and trucks, since those are the sort of work/commuter/family vehicles most likely to benefit from the technology (although, as we said, it's been available on Cadillacs since the spring). Rollout to other models and brands should follow shortly.

While in-car Wi-Fi may help boost productivity -- especially for the self-employed and commuters -- some folks will certainly lament this development. Between laptops, web-enabled phones, and countless other gadgets people carry these days, bringing the Internet to automobiles likely means the death of conversation as we know it. On the other hand, if it keeps the kids quiet...

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Comments (6)
  1. Great, they ban texting and talking on the phone to bring the whole internet into the car?
     
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  2. Seems like Autonet Mobile is supplying for everyone. Is there anyone else? Sounds like a monopoly to me...
     
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  3. Will be very curious to see how they prevent an active driver from using this service, but let the passengers use it. The upside is huge--streaming internet radio (destroying Sirius XM), e-mail read to you, real-time mapping, etc.--but there are some serious issues.
     
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  4. This is much better that a simple in-car DVD player!
     
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  5. I'll be curious to see how this sort of service plays out. I have a feeling that mobile internet is about to hit its tipping point, which may spell the death (or at least reconfiguration) of subscription radio services like Sirius. However, I'm not sure who'll be providing the service in the long run -- companies like Autonet, or conventional mobile broadband carriers like AT&T to which people already subscribe for cell service.
     
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  6. While I am sure GM felt they had no choice, this is yet another driver distraction. There will always be the jerk out there who thinks he/she CAN use the internet while driving. This puts so many at risk. I wonder if the tech wizards could enable the internet only when the car is in park?
     
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