Handheld technology such as phones and tablets are everywhere in today’s society, but one place it has always been hard to easily access is in cars. As a millennial I have seen technology rise to prominence and take over every part of my daily life and those around me. The most recent way is through the use of 4G LTE wifi in cars.
Think about it – what passenger wouldn’t love to be able to get into their car, turn on their iPad and watch Netflix while on a trip across the country or even to the supermarket. Parents would no longer need to deal with screaming children in the back seat and young adults could show their friends messages and videos without using their cell phone plan.
Regrettably, this amazing technology is still in its infancy. The only companies to offer this product are GM, who offer it in all of their models, and Audi, who currently only offer it in the A3. Although it is a new product, tests conducted by Engadget showed “16.76 Mbps downloads and 4.86 Mbps uploads.” Enough bandwidth to “simultaneously stream Netflix and Twitch while downloading a game from Steam.”
Unfortunately, all of this speed does not come cheap. The plans offered by GM range from $5 per month for 200 MB to $50 per month for 5GB. But to even be able to have one of these plans, drivers need a 2015 GM car with 4G capability and one of the underlying OnStar telematics packages. By doing this, drivers could run up bill of $80 per month, which for many people is out of the question. Especially when you think about what you will actually be using your data for, as it may run out faster than you think. “Netflix says these are its video data bandwidth rates: up to 0.3GB per hour for low data rate, 0.7GB per hour for medium, 1GB per hour for high, 2.8GB per hour for 1080p. For each 90-minute video, you’d use 0.45GB, 1.05GB, 1.5GB, or 4.2GB, respectively.”
From the perspective of a millennial such as myself, these options just do not line up with what I need out of a car right now, especially for the price. The technology is meant more as an addition, for use by passengers, and not the driver who, when in a car, is normally busy driving it. However, features such as this are just one of many things that customers need to think about when buying a car. It takes time and research to figure out exactly what they want…at least for now.