Autonet Mobile Offers In-Car WiFi

autonet

Wi-Fi Planet covers Autonet’s new in-car Wi-Fi system
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The San Francisco-based Internet service provider Autonet Mobile serves a slightly different target market from the average ISP—cars. The company’s router creates a Wi-Fi hotspot in and around the vehicle in which it’s installed—and even in the face of a significant economic downturn, company CEO Sterling Pratz is optimistic about Autonet’s future.

From the beginning, Pratz says, Autonet’s aim has simply been to extend the home Internet experience to the car. “We really felt like the car was the last bastion of connectivity for the Internet,” he says. “And we also felt that once you put the Internet into the car, a whole new ecosystem of applications and services and products would form.”

And Pratz says the range of devices already being used on the system is impressive. “We’re seeing not just laptops and mini-PCs… we’re also seeing iPod touches streaming Internet radio into the front seat—mostly FlyCast and Pandora… and in the back seat, we’re seeing a lot of Facebook, a lot of social networking, Yahoo! Messenger, and a lot of Google Earth,” he says.

Clever invention. I especially like the idea of streaming Pandora into the car radio and using Google Earth for navigation.

What I don’t like is the idea of being connected all the time, everywhere, thus having no excuse not to reply to your online friends, coworkers, clients, etc. Can you imagine taking a beautiful drive up Big Sur and being pinged by your boss through your car radio?

Now the connectivity has made it into even the most remote areas, it’s time to delineate some boundaries around usage etiquette.

  • “What I don’t like is the idea of being connected all the time, everywhere, thus having no excuse not to reply to your online friends, coworkers, clients, etc.”

    Need to draw the line somewhere. You can always turn it off! :) Or just have an X hour response policy.

  • How does the connection get from the car’s wifi base to the “rest” of the internet. Will this require some ludicrously expensive, extremely spotty, roaming cell phone data plan?

    Or, perhaps this device is targeted toward buyers who already have a ludicrously expensive, extremely spotty, roaming cell phone data plan.

  • Jenkins

    From what I have read, in addition to the $399-$499 cost of the device you have to sign up for $29 or $59 per month wifi cost to access the towers. So, if you already have internet on your phone you may be able to find a cheaper device that uses your existing internet service on your cell. But, for people who do not have a cell phone with internet but they have laptops, ipod touch, etc. then this is an alternative. Not sure how it connects for electricity, so you then may have install costs, too.