updated 12:30 pm EST, Mon December 21, 2009
Ford system to allow DIY in-car 3G
Ford today upgraded its Sync in-car system with its first ever Internet access. Just referred to as Sync Wi-Fi, the feature lets a car using an updated version of the entertainment system share a 3G connection with passengers over a Wi-Fi bridge. Unlike the Autonet systems used by Chevrolet and Chrysler, however, the Ford approach has users supply their own modem and relies on the USB port to plug in a 3G stick from multiple carriers.
While the option is potentially more expensive than with rivals, Ford notes its system is already pre-installed from the factory and doesn't eat into passenger space. It's not clear if the system uses 802.11n, but it will support WPA2 encryption to protect the Wi-Fi link against nearby cars or other those on foot near a parked car.
Ford has yet to say when and which cars will start carrying the new Sync hardware, but more details may appear at CES next month. [via Leftlane News]