2011 Subaru Outback to be a roaming Wi-Fi hotspot

Posted by Mike Luttrell

If you're in the market for a new car later this year, you can't go wrong with a hunk of metal and four wheels that lets you take the Internet with you.

Subaru will roll out its first car to feature "Autonet," a new technology that literally turns the car into a mobile Internet hotspot. Connected to 802.11 a/b/g frequency, it picks up 2.5G and 3G mobile data connections from across the world and is able to instantly switch between new signals, just like a cell phone, to ensure seamless connectivity.

"Subaru  Mobile Internet easily allows users to check e-mail, surf the Web or listen to Internet radio and even stream video and post to social networking sites," wrote the Japanese automaker in a statement.

Then, reiterating the model's historical marketing campaign, the company added, "Outback passengers can check weather and traffic, download hiking trails, and even reserve a campsite while they're on the road." Seriously, though, if you're stuck in a car for several hours, isn't there something more...interesting...that you'd want to browse through?

The cost to add Autonet Mobile to the car is an additional $499, with a $35 activation fee. From thereafter the service is $29 per month, which can be deactivated and reactived at any time.

The Autonet service is already available in select Cadillac and Chrysler models. And as a note to all drivers: there's a reason the only equipped vehicles are multiple-seat passenger vans/cars designed for family road trips. It would be a shame if Congress had to actually pass a law banning the use of laptops while driving.