In my opinion, there is no doubt there is interest in 4G and the hot spot in cars. But consumers won't pay much or the convenience and there will lots of other devices such as the Google Chromebook that offer this same functionality at a very low price point.
I understand your position, Ann. I've always been a late-to-the-party kind of consumer. It's not that I don't like new features; I'm just not willing to pay for them. At some point, though, they always end up getting thrust upon me. Nine years ago, I finally bought a car with power door locks and power windows because it cost the same with or without them. That will happen here, too.
For my next car, I'll take the Internet connectivity option! It will probably be included with the navigation system anyway.
I like my cars to be well equipped, with all the latest gadgets that I am willing to afford, including full electronics and navigation. I've worked too hard to drive a plain car with little or no luxuries. Heck, I'm getting enough flack from other guys about driving an economy mpg car rather than a more upscale luxury or performance car...such as called a "geeky engineer". I enjoy luxuries at home also, including lots of electronics, full-on home entertainment systems, besides the obligatory computer.
The full electronics with navigation in my 2012 Honda Civic was barely $1,000 more, so I have that option. Still, I see a lot of the same year and model car without that "shark fin" on the roof, which means they don't have the full electronics...their choice. I really like the satellite radio stations, as well as the electronics controls on the steering wheel. Since I'm a "map guy", I love having the navigation map always there in front of me (my wife hates to read maps, so navigation solves that problem also). My wife's car is a well equipped Acura TSX, and she also thoroughly enjoys the extras. We got our college age daughters more basic equipped economy cars for their commuting to college, work and fun.
Cars are long term CAPITAL investments. No sane person would voluntarily tie it to a specific short term technology device or service.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The better solution for the consumer is an industry standard for generic hardware. Blue-tooth is a good example of a first step in this direction. ODBII is another.
For example. Define a standard slot that would go into the dash board or in the seat back of a vehicle. The size and shape of a compliant device would be defined (say large enough for a 10" tablet-like device). The connector that provides power and connectivity would be defined. Then, a consumer could go and buy a compliant device from Apple, Motorola, Verizon, Sprint, GM, Ford, etc. You can have hot spots, or for that matter, any other new technology no one has thought about yet without being locked in to one provider for the life of the car. Device broke down? Buy a new one (one that's better than the old one, for less). Can't afford the 10" one in your 2015 Yugo? Buy the 7" one that also doubles as your phone (and still fits in the 10" slot).
Which is why it won't happen until consumers are finally fed up and demand it (or the Fed's dictate it, probably with safety as the excuse).
I agree with Dave. I like my cars plain and simple. i realize that may not be the norm. But even so, I have a hard time buying "People are demanding to be connected." That sounds like a lot of hype to me. Saying the market demands this or that feature or product is a disingenuous old ploy, and has often been said by marketers when "the market" has no idea the feature or product even exists or could exist.
Man... imagine you have steer-by-wire and some brilliant engineer decides they need to send out a patch because he discovers a flaw or vulnerability... so your car gets the patch, which causes an automatic reboot that the engineer didn't know would happen, which momentarily shuts off your steering while you're driving up Pike's Peak at a quick clip...
I have to agree with Chuck here - human nature has shown over and over again an innate desire to defeat any safety measures that are in place. While limiting internet access to the backseat sounds good in theory - it just does not seem practical. We will be seeing more and more fatalities due to our inability to control our desire for instant gratification (I HAVE to pick up my cell phone and see who texted me while I am driving - it could be important!)
We just got back from a road trip with our fifteen year old son. We have been teaching him to look out the window instead of at his tablet, and to converse with other passengers rather than constantly text his friends. Call me old-fashioned but I am very uncomfortable with these recent trends in car technology - both for safety and for adequate socialization reasons...
"GM stressed that front seat occupants won't have access to Internet-based video or browsing capabilities," Really? What're they going to do- make sure the wi-fi signal doesn't wander up to the front seat where the driver sits browsing YouTube videos on his smart phone or tablet? Oh no, I don't see any potential downsides to this idea.
What they really need is something that DOES NOT act as a hotspot. Cars should be able to communicate with other cars and traffic tracking systems (anonymously) for purposes of gridlock control and future autonomous driving capabilities. But that's it.
Universal Internet connectivity is coming, nobody can reasonably deny that. Refrigerators and home alarms and climate control systems will have it. But for the sake of safety, I don't understand how anybody can see car wi-fi capability as a positive. I see folks "driving" while putting on makeup, texting, simultaneously juggling a coffee and sausage McMuffin (wait- don't you need to touch the steering wheel?) all the time. If you think there are distractions to drivers now, just wait.
I'm no nanny-stater, trust me. But there are limits- remember the saying "your freedom ends where my nose begins". Or in this case, where my rear bumper begins.
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