Auto Electronics

Chrysler launches uConnect brand

Chrysler plans to brand all of its in-vehicle interconnection technologies “UConnect,” as in UConnect phone, UConnect tunes, UConnect gps, UConnect studios, and UConnect web.

For the latter, Chrysler is partnering with Autonet Mobile and Mopar to offer aftermarket in-vehicle Internet connectivity on all Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, beginning in August.

UConnect phone will automatically download up to 1,000 phone book entries from supported phones. It recognizes three languages, and is capable of learning. Voice commands can be used to manage onboard phone book entries, select radio stations, and access voice mail. The microphone in the rearview mirror can also be used to record and store up to three 30-second voice memos. On select vehicles, UConnect phone will also include an iPod interface (Universal Customer Interface connector).

Similar to MyGIG, UConnect tunes includes a 30-gigabyte hard drive for ripping up to 6,700 songs from CD or USB memory devices in MP3, AAC or WMA file formats. It can also store photos, and show movies while the vehicle is in Park.

Chrysler’s navigation/real-time traffic system, UConnect gps, will feature a touch screen, and a voice recognition system with a 100,000-word vocabulary, so users can enter destinations while the vehicle is moving.

UConnect studios refers to SIRIUS Backseat TV and SiRIUS satellite radio, which offer three channels of family TV fare and 130 channels of music, information and entertainment respectively. The two can be taken together or separately. Programming is available for front seat viewing on UConnect tunes or UConnect GPS screens when the vehicle is in Park.

Mopar will offer UConnect Web at a suggested retail price of $449 plus $35-50 for installation. Autonet Mobile offers service at $29 per-month plus a $35 activation fee. The service promises to transform a vehicle into a mobile hot spot with a 100-foot radius. WiFi-enabled devices will be able to connect with the Internet wherever cellular service is available. The service runs over integrated 3G and 2.5G (EVDO, 1xRTT) cellular data networks. Internet access speeds are said to range from 400-800 Kbps/sec., with upload speeds averaging 400 Kbps/sec. The WiFi connection is secured with WEP encryption, MAC address restriction, or WAN port restriction.

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