In a lot of ways, it already feels like we're living in a future approved by The Jetsons. For one thing, there's no Wi-Fi on airplanes, which is technologically mind-blowing. Moreover, we have vehicles that run on batteries alone, and we're able to charge our mobile phones sans wires. But now, we're one step closer to truly intergalactic bragging rights. Audi has just announced its intentions to bring LTE to the car, setting a new standard in keeping drivers and riders connected even while kicking the pavement.
Starting this month, the Audi S3 Sportback will ship as the first in the automaker's line to have LTE
as an available option.
To use LTE, a suitable SIM card with a data flat rate simply needs to be inserted into the appropriate slot in the MMI navigation plus unit in the Audi S3 Sportback. When the passengers connect their mobile end devices to the WLAN hotspot integrated into the car, they can surf the web independently of one another. For example, one passenger can participate in a video conference while another watches a video.
The MMI navigation plus uses LTE to deliver the tailored services of Audi connect to the driver – from navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View to Audi music stream web radio and online traffic information. The community services Facebook and Twitter have also been made vehicle-friendly with a text-to-speech function and a text function with prepared text modules. In addition, there are over a dozen Audi connect services, including a text-to-speech function for e-mail and a dictation function for text messages (SMS). And the range of services is expanding rapidly.
Now, let's see if other automakers follow suit. There seems to be a divide: some prefer integrated LTE, and some are looking at options to tether using the LTE connection on the phone that enters with the driver.