Earlier this year, Crave reported on a collaboration between Qualcomm and Audi that promised mobile Web access in select Audi vehicles. It seemed like the stuff of legend at the time, but now Mobile World Congress has rolled around, the system is being demonstrated for real.
As promised, the chip company has paired a UMTS modem with Audi's MMI (Mobile Media Interface) navigation and entertainment system. Once a user installs his or her own 3G SIM card, it allows high-speed 3G data connectivity, transforming the otherwise humble sat-nav into something far more futuristic.
According to Qualcomm, the system will deliver an improved navigation experience backed by real-time data and imagery downloaded over the Intertubes. It will also allow connectivity with Google Earth to provide high-resolution, 3D satellite and aerial imagery, as well as a variety of online content, including real-time traffic updates and points of interest. Spot an interesting building, for example, and your Audi will give you the option of pulling live information from Web sites such as Wikipedia.
That's not all. According to Qualcomm, the system will allow you to turn your Audi into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. That means you -- and your passengers -- will be able to browse the Web on a laptop or mobile phone while sitting around waiting for the lights to turn green.
We can't wait to get our hands on this thing. It's set to appear on select Audi A8s at some point during 2010. We'll be badgering Audi for a go on one as soon as it becomes available, at which point, we'll put together one of our special Car Tech videos to show you how it works.