Update: After nearly six months of teasing out the details of its upcoming mobile wireless in-car Internet system, Chrysler has finally revealed pricing for the base unit and the monthly access charges. With an initial buy-in of $499 and ongoing fees of $29 per month, plus sundry other one-time fees, the upgrade won't break the bank for most buyers, but it certainly is a pricey way to get online.

The company supplying Chrysler with the technology, Autonet, sells a similar system to Avis Rent-a-Car, which the company rents out for a day rate of $10.95 in many large cities. The Avis version of the system is portable and can be installed in any car quickly, but the Chrysler Uconnect system is built into the car and cannot be swapped at will. A fee of $35 to $50 for installation at the dealership will cover the one-time process, however, and after an additional $35 activation fee, you can be on your way to over-the-road web browsing.

It's certainly a handy feature for traveling salespeople or executives, not to mention company or state fleet cars, but the extra cost may rule out its use in more consumer-oriented cars. Nevertheless, for those without smartphones or similar mobile web access, the Chrysler system could prove a useful, if somewhat expensive, alternative.

Original: Back in March Chrysler announced it would be launching in-car Internet access, and expected to be the first carmaker with such a feature to market. In April, the company revealed its Mopar division would be developing and supplying the technology. Now details on the system, called 'Uconnect' have emerged, including the basics of how it works and what it will entail.

Designed as a competitor to Ford's Sync system, the Uconnect family of technologies will also provide other functionality in addition to roaming wireless internet hotspot creation. For example, Uconnect phone will allow for hands free use of mobile phones and will be able to automatically download up to 1,000 phone entries and store the contacts in its database, reports The Detroit News. A mobile song bank feature called uconnect tunes will provide direct control an iPod through the uconnect interface, including a 30GB hard drive for multimedia content. GPS and Sirius satellite TV and radio functions will also be included.

The wireless hot-spot feature functions via cell-towers, essentially creating a GPRS or EDGE connection depending on the region of network available. Eventually 3G speeds could be attained, but currently only AT&T has such a network throughout the U.S., and Chrysler hasn't disclosed which supplier its system would use, or whether the system could be adapted to different carriers' networks.

Vehicles in all three of Chrysler's brands will get the technology, though exactly which has not yet been announced. It’s likely the Dodge Viper and Caliber plus the Jeep Compass and Patriot will miss out initially as none of these vehicles come with the current MyGiG system. The system will be available starting with 2009 model year cars in the U.S.

Via: The Truth About Cars