Buckle up, a Bay Area startup is offering a new type of mobile Internet.
What happens when a Pro Race Car Driver meets a Sr. Executive from Nortel’s Innovation Lab? They create a network for cars that enables drivers and passengers to take their Internet connection with them wherever they go. Founded in Marin County, CA in 2005, Autonet Mobile provides the first Always-On Broadband Internet service for cars. By providing broadband Internet services and always-on Wi-Fi connectivity nationwide, Autonet Mobile will soon extend the power of the Internet to the 150 million vehicles on the road today.
During next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, San Francisco-based Autonet Mobile will show off its portable router, designed to bring Wi-Fi to an area still largely devoid of Internet access—the automobile.
Autonet Mobile's goal was to make the car cool again. They think people are very interested in letting their kids be online and do cool things in the car.
The company’s offering is a $399 box that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter or a standard wall plug. For a $49 monthly fee, Autonet promises unlimited Internet access on the go. The box uses cellular data networks to connect to the Internet and behaves like any other Wi-Fi hotspot. That means multiple users can get online simultaneously using a single box as an access point.
Autonet is currently taking pre-orders for units it said will start shipping this spring.
Mr. Pratz was quoted saying Autonet has also signed a deal with a family of dealerships in Northern California that will offer its product alongside Toyota, Volvo, Land Rover, and Maserati vehicles. A former race car driver, Mr. Pratz has experience dealing with major auto manufacturers and said Autonet is interested in working with well-known companies. “We’re an interesting marriage between the automotive industry and the technology provider industry,” he said.
Will this be less distracting to other drivers than seatback and fold-down in-car movie screens?
Quote: “You’re not tied to a coffee shop anymore.”
-Sterling Pratz -- Autonet Mobile
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