August 7, 2012

Chrysler Rolls Out Enhanced Onboard Wireless Services For Ram, Viper

Rebecca Darrah for - Your Universe Online

Chrysler announced on Monday that it has partnered with Sprint to provide embedded wireless services for Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system, which will be available in the 2013 Ram 1500 pickup and SRT Viper models this fall.

Uconnect is Chrysler's system for hands-free communication, telematics, navigation and entertainment connectivity.

Through their partnership, first announced in March, Chrysler and Sprint have developed new features for Uconnect, such as voice recognition capabilities that allow drivers to compose a text message or enter navigation destinations via voice commands. Drivers will also be able to reach a 911 dispatcher directly with the simple touch of a button, while passengers can go online with their laptop or smartphones via the vehicle's Wi-Fi capabilities.

"It is basically providing a hot spot on wheels," Marios Zenios, president of Uconnect systems and services for Chrysler, told The Detroit News.

Additional emergency and location services will also be available using Sprint´s 3G network.

Chrysler said the new Uconnect features in the Ram and Viper are what consumers are looking for in their next car.

"One area we focus on is the next generation of buyers who do not know a world without the Internet and connectivity," said Zenios.

“We know for a fact that our customers are asking for these types of services and experiences."

Zenios said Chrysler owners will also have use of something similar to an Appstore for their car, in which owners sign on to the Uconnect website and select the apps they want to use. The vehicle will then download the apps via Sprint's network.

Zenios said Chrysler is working hard to generate interest among 3rd party developers to broaden the features and capabilities available in the Uconnect apps.

Uconnect´s Wi-Fi capabilities will enable the cars to act as a mobile hotspot — like smartphones and tablets —allowing any WiFi-enabled device to go online while in the vehicle. Drivers already registered to the Uconnect site can pay for access while in the car as well.

Pricing and packaging of Uconnect´s features are still being determined, and Chrysler will eventually offer enhanced Uconnect services on additional vehicles, Zenios said.