Eat my screamin' streamin' dust: 2015 Audi A3 will be first car ever with 4G LTE
Your car may drive fast, but does it stream fast, too? Announced this week at the LA Auto Show, the 2015 Audi A3 will be the first car to come equipped with 4G LTE service running at speeds up to 100Mbps. With that kind of throughput, this connected car will be able to serve up data faster, stream videos, and connect to the roadway at high speeds. Yes, future cars will be about much more than the ride.
With LTE, Audi says everything will be faster. Take the in-car navigation system: Instead of the typical screen crawl we know so well, Google Earth maps will pop onscreen instantly. The Google Street View feature already available in some Audi cars will also show pictures faster.
Facebook and Twitter status updates will work faster. A new feature will provide a way for the car to read headline news to you, though there wasn't much detail as to which news services will be offered. The car will also be able to tap up to 7,000 Internet radio stations and show RSS feeds as truncated Web info—though details remained sparse at this time. Another new feature: You can pull the geolocation data from a photo sent by e-mail (if that friend allowed GPS data to be embedded). An Audi rep told TechHive.com you have to send the photo to the MyAudi app, which then sends the image and GPS data to the car for use in the nav system.
Best of all, everyone in the car can be connected, too. Up to eight people in the vehicle can gather ‘round the LTE service using a built-in hotspot.
It's not unusual for the most advanced tech to show up in a luxury brand like Audi, but GM's also planning to roll out 4G service across its product line within the next year. The connected car is going mainstream, and soon it'll be unusual for a new car not to be able to connect to the Web, download rich content, share the signal to phone and tablet users in the car, and eventually stream richer data between cars—say, a live stream from a built-in camera. The 4G also opens up the possibility of live HD video chats between cars.
Let's not forget, someone will have to pay for this connectivity. The carrier partner for the Audi A3 has yet to be announced. The car will go on sale next spring. We'll get behind the wheel and have our passengers connect with iPads as soon as possible.