Data network access is certainly a hot topic these days in the world of mobile electronics, for obvious reasons. Devices like the Apple iPhone, HTC Evo, and Motorola Droid X have the potential to give users fast access to content most of us never imagined possible a few years ago. The motor vehicle is slowly moving into the spotlight alongside these smartphones as a "mobile device", which technically, it is. We're already starting to see wireless data connections being introduced as an option for production cars (Ford and Audi, to name a couple), and they will become even more common in the near future.

Alcatel-Lucent has created the LTE Connected Concept via its ng Connect Program to demonstrate some of the possibilities for in-vehicle content consumption. The car will be capable of connecting to the upcoming cellular LTE (Long Term Evolution) data network and stream various different types of content to its built-in entertainment systems. This connectivity can turn any car into a rolling smartphone of sorts. Anything you could access with your mobile device could also be accessed through the vehicle itself.

As we continue to evolve the way we use the web, our relationships with our devices change too. Although the telephone, in its original form, could be considered the very first implementation of a social network, it has turned into something completely different and powerful. Our cars may soon head in this direction, becoming a social networking platform of their own.

I imagine a combination of web-connected infotainment systems integrated with navigation and augmented reality software that allows the vehicles occupants to interact with their surroundings in a totally new way. Maybe some day you'll have a digital avatar associated with your driver's license or registration. Maybe the attractive young lady's car next to you at the traffic light will reveal that she's your age, and single! More practically, the technology could be used to access information regarding traffic, weather, law enforcement or emergencies. Some of this is already available via smartphones and mobile GPS units, but the wireless data network has a lot more of it to offer. As drivers and passengers demand more entertainment from their cars, the technology is becoming available to give them whatever they want.

[ng Connect via Gizmag]