BMW have introduced a new gadget that may point the way to a more universal approach for car connectivity. The Car Hotspot LTE is a 4G device that docks inside your new BMW’s console. Up to eight mobile devices can connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi or NFC (near field communication). Available now in Europe, the technology should be arriving in U.S. models later this year.
Their official press release says, ‘The newly launched BMW Car Hotspot LTE is now bringing LTE high-speed mobile internet access to the road. Just like a router in the home, the BMW Car Hotspot LTE provides internet access for mobile client devices. Passengers can enjoy high-speed internet surfing on as many as eight different mobile devices simultaneously. Using the new LTE (Long Term Evolution) wireless technology, the BMW Car Hotspot LTE takes the mobile internet experience to a whole new level. “The very fast bit rates and extremely low latency mean that an internet connection supported by the BMW Car Hotspot LTE is often even faster than a PC connection in the home,” says Markus Dietz, Project Manager BMW Car Hotspot LTE Development.’
A dock in the vehicle console provides the power and antennae connections. This overcomes a problem mobile users sometimes experience with tinted windows in cars. But the really nifty part is the device is not bolted to the car. While it is obviously “designed for optimal operation in any vehicle of the BMW Group equipped with a telephone docking station” it can also be used outside the vehicle. A built-in battery provides about an hour of surfing away from your car. An adapter is also available to plug the hot spot into any generic cigarette lighter power outlet.
This is an approach we hope more manufacturers will follow. Instead of soldering in proprietary hardware that can never be updated- BMW have opted for plug-and-play mobility. Now if they would just do something about that dang iDrive….