It was only a matter of time before in-car Internet went mainstream. Over the past couple of weeks, Avis has begun to roll out its in-car Wi-Fi service, which allows drivers to turn their rental cars into mobile Wi-Fi hotspots. The service, called Avis Connect, is provided by Autonet Mobile using 3G and 2.5G (EVDO, 1xRTT) connections.
For an extra $10.95 per day, Avis says renters get wireless broadband connectivity "at all times and places during their travel, from airports to meetings to hotels, and everything in between." We're not sure how the Wi-Fi signal will hold up if your car is parked in a hotel's underground lot and your room is on the 32nd floor, but motel patrons should have no problem connecting. Avis Connect is being introduced to airport-based rental centers in five cities this summer, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New Jersey, and will be expanded to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York, San Diego, and Seattle in the fall.
For those interested in setting up a WLAN in their own cars, Autonet's mobile in-car router will begin shipping in late summer with price tag of $399 plus a monthly subscription of $49.95 for unlimited data. Alternative car connectivity options include the recently released AirBox X2 router from WAAV (formerly Omniwav Mobile), which uses two cellular (EVDO Rev. A) connections from the same carrier for a stronger Wi-Fi signal.