Auto Tech

Volvo unveils new infotainment system

Automaker debuts industry's first Internet-connected rear-seat infotainment system, complete with Windows, Wi-Fi, and a 500GB hard drive.

Volvo XC70
The 2010 Volvo XC70 sports a Windows XP-based rear entertainment system. Volvo

Volvo's got a new infotainment system to keep the kids (or adults) busy in the back seat.

The automaker said its 2010 Volvo XC70 vehicle will make its entrance at the Chicago Auto Show Thursday with a new rear-seat entertainment system. Sporting Windows XP, Wi-Fi, and a 500GB hard drive, the RSEi-500 system will let backseat passengers surf the Web, check e-mail, listen to music, and watch TV and movies.

To view content, passengers can wirelessly connect to the in-car system from their personal PCs to transfer video, audio, and other files. While on the road, people can plug a Sprint 3G wireless card into the system to stay connected to the Internet all the time.

To put the new system in the back seat, Volvo Cars of North America (VCNA) teamed up with Azentek, a manufacturer of in-car computer systems, and Gracenote, which provides downloadable information for digital music.

Courtesy of the Wi-Fi connection and Gracenote's technology, passengers can listen to songs as well as view lyrics, find information on the artists, and read reviews of the music. The system can also find details on music played through the AM/FM/satellite radio and then download those songs to its hard drive.

"The RSEi-500 has set a new standard for the rear-seat entertainment industry. This fully integrated multimedia RSE allows customers to surf the Internet, enjoy mobile TV, and watch videos, while boasting the industry's first interactive audio library and video exploration experience enabled by Gracenote and its partners, all from the back seat of their Volvo XC70," said VCNA Product Manager Jack Lawson in a statement.

The RSEi-500 also offers a touch screen, USB connection, and an AV connection for iPods, portable game consoles, and other mobile gadgets

Depending on the reaction of consumers at the auto show, Volvo said the RSEi-500 infotainment system is scheduled to appear in various models in June of this year.