Roadshow Video Reviews
2015 Audi A3Audi's little car casts a big tech shadow and 4G
Audi A3 all refreshed here at Los Angeles Auto Show. But while you might think the car itself is gonna be fairly basic where it sits in their model line, these guys are turning that model on its head. Let me show you the technology inside. This is interesting. Now, 3G is fairly common in automobiles. But even today, it's not typically embedded. And 4G, almost unheard of until now. Here is Audi putting it in to their A3. You'd expect me to say 8 there, wouldn't you? High-end car. They're introducing it here in a lower end car. And that's kind of an interesting strategy. What you do is you pop a sim in the dash, like you do with any embedded connectivity system, and you might say, "Why would I need 4G in a car?" Because 3G is not a big enough pipe to run what they're doing in the dash-- 7,000 streaming radio stations, Google Earth-- which they've had before in these cars. But now, really with some good throttle response, if you will, and really load with some snappiness to it. Here, they've got something called the phone box. What that's gonna do is give you a wireless connection to the external antenna apparatus in the car. Here's another one. When the car hits production, it's going to offer an app that you can optionally install. It's gonna let you receive a photo via messaging to this whole connected ecosystem, which if you want, you can tell the system to navigate to. As long as that photo has GPS cord that's baked into it which, you know, most people share photos with that stuff already turned on. Let's look at the Audi at my interface down here. Here, they've done something with rockers that kind of perform double duty-- radio and media on one, nav and telephone on the other. The navs gotten bigger because now, on the A3, it's got the right on technology, the finger recognitions. You can spell out a destination, as well as do it by voice, as well as do it by click, as well as do it by photo-- as I just mentioned. And the last thing that's useful about a 4G connection is that it's a big enough pipe to create a meaningful Wi-Fi hotspot in the car. You can actually share it without bogging it down to death. I cannot say that about 3G that we have today. Now, how do they do it? Actually be sharing a hotspot in the car? I'm a little dubious on that 'cause most of our devices have their [unk] data built in. But there are times when you need it. This is part of a 4G race, by the way. With Audi bringing this in at one of their lower-end cars, and with General Motors saying they're gonna have 4G in most of their 2015s that arrive in late 2014, you can see automakers were doing two things at once-- embedding and going to a fad or pipe. That's a good trend, overall.