|by Rob on December 17th, 2009|
Chevrolet is trying to take their fleet of vehicles into the future and I’m sure hopes to capitalize on the latest smartphone craze by providing WiFi service. The company will offer the service – aptly called Chevrolet Wi-Fi – for its Equinox, Traverse, Silverado, Tahoe, Suburban, Avalanche and Express models.
Not only will the service provide internet access inside the vehicle but also within a 150 feet radius around the vehicle. That’s great and all but what if you have a smartphone with an unlimited data plan? Chevy Wi-Fi will cost $199 after a $200 mail-in-rebate and then an additional $29/month on a 2-year contract. Right now that is just about the price of a smartphone with unlimited data… so I’m a bit confused about what Chevrolet is expecting to come from all this.
But combine it with a story from GigaOM and maybe it’ll make a lot more sense. Right now only 1 million people have internet access in their car if you’re to believe iSuppli. On the other hand, by 2016 that number is expected to SKYROCKET to 62 million consumers. But it isn’t about how many people have access… but what kind of access they have.
How about GPS service connected via Wi-Fi that uses Google Navigation? How about streaming radio over the internet? How about a digital concierge in your dashboard? That’s exactly what needs to happen and exactly how these automotive companies need to extend their offerings. Some games, handhelds, and integrations designed specifically for use in the car would make a lot of sense too.
Rather than just “offering Wi-Fi”… how about extending capabilities through innovation? Chevy… hop on it or I’m sure somebody else will.