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RAIN 8/25: Chrysler's in-car Internet launches

Posted on: 08/25/2008

CHRYSLER STARTS SELLING IN-CAR WI-FI TODAY: As previously announced (RAIN coverage here and here), Chrysler will start selling cars with the UConnect Wi-Fi hi-speed Internet service today, allowing in-car streaming of webcasts. The feature itself costs $499, $35-$50 to install, and $58 in monthly subscription and service charges. While Chrysler only condones passenger use of the in-car Internet, The New York Times sees the service as a potential safety hazard. “Bad idea. As drivers, we have done poorly resisting the temptation to move our eyes away from the road to check e-mail or send text messages with our cellphones. Now add laptops…J. R. Peter Kissinger, president of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in Washington, calls ‘distracted driving’ one of the leading threats to ‘all of us who drive or walk in this country.’” Read the full article here.

MOTLEY FOOL: BENEFITS OF IN-CAR INTERNET OUTWEIGH POTENTIAL SAFETY HAZARDS: Retorting The New York Times’ article on how dangerous Chrysler’s in-car Wi-Fi service may be is Rick Aristotle Munarriz at Motley Fool, who argues that the benefits of in-car Internet (primarily Internet radio) outweigh potential accidents cause by distracted driving. “Temptations to lose focus are already abundant,” he writes, “The allure of having a router in your car doesn’t involve multitasking drivers. Instead, it’s about enhancing passengers’ existing entertainment and information options…Critics traditionally decry most new technologies before embracing the benefits, and the concerns brewing about UConnect will likely prove no different.” Read the full article here.

OBAMA’S VP BIDEN HAS PRO-RIAA RECORD: Presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama has selected Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) as his running mate — an ally of the RIAA and co-sponsor of the PERFORM Act. The PERFORM Act, primarily sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), would assign royalty rates according to an arbitrator-decided “fair market value” and not a standard of fairness or public good. It was discussed in a Senate Judiciary Hearing back in July (RAIN coverage here and here). CNet points out that Biden’s stance may be at odds with Obama’s declaration to, “’Update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated.’ These are code words for taking a more pro-EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) than pro-MPAA approach. Unfortunately, Biden has steadfastly refused to answer questions on the topic.” Additionally, Biden is a staunch enemy of peer-to-peer networks, signing a letter that urged the Justice Department to prosecute peer-to-peer users and proposing a $1 billion program to monitor peer-to-peer networks this year. Finally, he introduced a bill in 2002 “that would have make it a federal felony to trick certain types of devices into playing unauthorized music or executing unapproved computer programs,” which was defeated by efforts from Verizon, Microsoft, Apple, eBay and Yahoo. For more, read CNet’s coverage here.

TOP 12 NET RADIO APPS FOR iPHONE: iLounge lists their Top 12 Internet radio applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch, including popular picks like Pandora, Last.fm, and AOL Radio, but also looking deeper into the offerings at Apple’s App Store. High on their list is StreamItAll Radio, a $4 application that allows users to add their own webcast streams. 2,000 stations are included on the $1 allRadio (pictured), which also features a slick interface. Also featured are Radio 105 Classics, Radio Javan, and Mx3.ch Mobile which tunes in to Swiss music channels. Read iLounge’s full list and reviews here.

AMERICAN AIRLINES’ IN-FLIGHT WI-FI TAKES OFF: American Airlines has launched their in-flight Wi-Fi service Gogo, provided by Aircell. Customers willing to pay $13 for flights longer than 3 hours on Boeing 767-200 aircraft can now access the Internet. Currently, only nonstop flights between New York and San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, and New York and Miami include the Gogo service. For more, read RBR’s coverage here.

MOBILE AD SPENDING TO SKYROCKET, SAYS STUDIES: A new study from Strategy Analytics predicts $2.4 billion to be spent on mobile ads in 2009, compared to $1 billion this year. An additional study from eMarkter places U.S. mobile ad spending at $6.5 billion in 2012 and $14.2 billion worldwide. For more, read eMarketer’s coverage here.

LAST.FM’S STREAMS HOSTED ON GAMESPOT’S ROCK BAND 2 SITE: Last.fm’s streaming radio will be available on GameSpot’s Rock Band 2 website, aimed at providing consumers with a preview of songs to be included in the game. Last.fm announced in June that it would be syndicating content to big name websites, such as CBS’ television stations and affiliates as well as Billboard.com, iGoogle, and more (RAIN coverage here). For more, read Plug In Music’s coverage here.

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