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Turn Your Car Into Your Computer

Mobile warriors rejoice; Wi-Fi has reached your vehicle. Just don't surf while driving.
February 11, 2010

Not that anyone needs more proof that we've left the 20th Century in the dust, but our cars are becoming indistinguishable from our laptops.

Texting and driving still ranks as a stupid strategy, right up there with the idea for New Coke, but it is increasingly becoming very possible to be safely connected to the internet while behind the wheel, provided you do all the necessary clicking and typing before you press your foot on the gas.

After all, you can listen to podcasts while driving, or listen to a favorite show on a video site like (but actually watching the show while driving = bad idea). You could theoretically talk on the phone--through Skype--while making your way to and from the office to your home. And there are probably numerous other ways you could use the internet while driving.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this is way too complicated, and what's wrong with the radio, anyway? Nevertheless, Chris Rauser, accessories manager for Chevrolet, points out, "If you carpool, you could have several people checking their email on their laptops, turning your car into a mobile office." Rauser has been eagerly talking up his company's new Chevrolet Wi-Fi by Autonet Mobile, which recently debuted in some Chevrolet models as well as Buick, Cadillac and GMC vehicles.

Rauser adds that because Chevrolet's modem reach is 150 feet, salespeople on call may find it easier to show prospective clients their wares--they can take their own laptop into a client's home, using their car's modem to connect.

If you're thinking of turning your BMW or VW into a PC, or your Cadillac into a Mac, here are a few of the options available to you:

The road ahead seems to indicate this isn't a passing trend. In 2011, the Audi 8 will be connected, allowing you to stream video and music and whatever else you want while you're zipping down the freeway, according to the blog Technology for the Soul . And recently the technological giant Alcatel-Lucent debuted its ng Connect program , which is working to bring dependable internet access to automobiles, with a promise on their web site that offers a glimpse of this technology's future. "Soon the must-have option for new cars won't be a sunroof or leather seats--it will be ultra high-speed, high-bandwidth connectivity," the ng Connect web site promises, assuring all of us: "Your car will be connected."

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