Light Reading

GM: 10 Car Models on Road With AT&T's LTE

Dan Jones
7/18/2014
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General Motors is expecting to have AT&T's 4G LTE connectivity available in up to 30 of its latest car models by the end of the year.

The company has recently started to roll out its latest models with 4G LTE "hotspots" onboard, part of a multi-year deal with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). A spokesman for General Motors tells Light Reading that 10 models are on the road now.

GM has been running test drives of the capabilities of the wireless cars for a year now, with the latest one happening in California this week.

The in-car 4G will connect with AT&T's network where LTE is available, otherwise it selects a 3G connection. The GM spokesman told us that the tests had shown good performance with cell site handoffs at speed, although buffering is a possibility if a video stream moves off 4G onto a lower-speed connection.

AT&T has been working with GM on deploying LTE for a while. As Chris Penrose, SVP in the emerging devices division at AT&T, explains, the design cycle in adding new connectivity features to vehicles can take years. "Typically, it's a three to four year lifecycle," Penrose says.

AT&T, however, is trying to speed up the process somewhat at car manufacturers and operators look at a world where more third party apps could be developed for vehicles. This is part of the point of the AT&T Drive platform, Penrose says, to help bring development times down.

AT&T and GM first announced the LTE hook-up in February 2013.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
7/22/2014 | 8:16:20 AM
Re: Car tablet?
Yep, lots of safety issues to consider in this market for sure.
thebulk
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thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/21/2014 | 3:26:10 PM
Re: Car tablet?
If I recall it was not that long ago that Apple and Tesla were in talks, the way Apple is moving to try and carve out their own piece of the IoT pie its not surprising. 
thebulk
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thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/21/2014 | 3:24:48 PM
Re: Car tablet?
Yeah I would assume that hands free and voice would be first choice, but I wonder what the QA is on that before roll out. A minor bug in an app could end up causing some big issues if it were to confuse a driver. 
thebulk
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thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/21/2014 | 3:19:29 PM
Re: Car tablet?
I would think there is going to have to be a strong vetting proccess for the in car apps to make sure they complie with safty standards and proper usability. 
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
7/21/2014 | 11:51:37 AM
Re: Car tablet?
Apple, Google, Samsung, AT&T and lots of others want to be in the driving seat of the connected car for sure. If that's scary to you then, yeah, be afraid, be very afraid.

 

I imagine it'll be a bit like cult British spy series, The Prisoner, except Google ballons will be following you around, not those big white beach balls. :-)
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
7/21/2014 | 11:48:11 AM
Re: Car tablet?
It's a nice thought but again the design cycle is amazingly long. The specifications of a car can be baked in up to five years in advance of that model coming on the road.

 

This is why LTE-enabled cars are just starting to arrive....

 

 

 

 
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
7/21/2014 | 11:45:55 AM
Re: Car tablet?
Yeah, that's the problem with developing SDKs, they have to be v. careful about what to allow support for. Obviously hands-free, voice control is the prefered option.
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
7/21/2014 | 11:42:22 AM
Re: Car tablet?
They're working developer kits for the Drive platform apparently so there should be more apps out for sure.
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
7/21/2014 | 11:42:16 AM
Re: Car tablet?
They're working developer kits for the Drive platform apparently so there should be more apps out for sure.
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
7/21/2014 | 11:41:21 AM
Re: Sponsored Data?
They've got a good numer of car makers onboard with LTE, if not sponsored data. I tried to bring that out in the story a bit, the design cycle of making a car is so long that if you've got integrated LTE in a particular model then that you've got carmaker locked in for years.
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