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USA Today, Wall Street Journal review Autonet Mobile in-car Wi-Fi service

We first wrote a few months ago about Chrysler announcing that it was offering a Wi-Fi option for its 2009 vehicles. Now the mainstream tech press has taken it for its first spin—and have given Autonet Mobile a tentative thumbs up.
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Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor on

We first wrote a few months ago about Chrysler announcing that it was offering a Wi-Fi option for its 2009 vehicles. Now the mainstream tech press has taken it for its first spin—and have given Autonet Mobile a tentative thumbs up.

The Autonet router costs $449, and can be purchased for other makes of cars, though it needs to be professionally installed, since it's designed to be permanently affixed to the inside of your trunk. You pay $29 per month for wireless service up to 1GB of data, or $59 for 5GB. Autonet Mobile works by snatching a signal from nearby cell towers and converting it into a Wi-Fi signal. The company says the device includes technology that results in fewer signal dropouts on the move than users may experience with cell signals on their phones.

Both the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg and USA Today's Ed Baig found that Autonet's claim was fairly accurate, with each writer able to use the network in his respective test vehicle without hiccups. The downside, though, was that the network's speed topped out at 500Kbps, which is fine for e-mail or most Web browsing, but made viewing streaming video challenging at best.

Do you have any interest in the Autonet Mobile service? If not, what would it take to make you consider adding Wi-Fi to your car? Let us know in Talkback.

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