Forget about in-car telephone. The BMW group is planning to launch car hotspot LTE (long term evolution) in its cars equipped with telephone docking stations (power source). The hot-spot can provide lightning fast internet connectivity to a maximum of 8 devices. The BMW car hotspot LTE can be considered as a WLAN router which houses an LTE SIM.
The in-car hotspot device neither produce nor is affected by the radio interference inside the car as receives its signals from the car aerial. The external antenna also provides for better signal reception. The WiFi has adjustable maximum range. With factory settings the WiFi has a range of 3m and can be extended up to 10m.
The hotspot device can also be powered from the cigarette lighter inside the car through a mini-USB cable. The car hotspot device packs a small battery having enough juice to power up the device for about an hour when used outside the car (max range 10m). The battery can be recharged in just 30 mins.
Connection can be established to the car hotspot using the following options:
- Entering the 8 digit PIN
- via NFC (placing the device on the car hotspot device)
- through WPS
The hotspot LTE device is backwards compatible with UMTS as well as EDGE so that you can stay connected even if you are in the country side.
Availability and Price Tag
There is no word from the BMW about the availability and price of the car hotspot device but it expected to be available in Europe in about a week.
It is good to know that BMW is taking a few but small steps towards making their cars truly next gen. But it should be noted that even a cheap android device bearing a price tag of $150 can provide portable UMTS hotspot. And the chances are very less that a person owning a luxury car would use an outdated 2G cell phone.
You can argue that the inexpensive devices donot have 4G LTE connectivity but my point is that LTE is not as wide spread as the 3G/UMTS .
The only benefit that the BMW car hotspot has is the better signal reception due to its dependence on the external aerial when operated within the car.
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