October 18, 2007 weblog
Audi Unveils iPhone-like Car Phone
Audi has recently introduced a new concept car phone, cramming a ton of features into a tiny device. Called the Audi Mobile Phone, the handheld interface controls a number of systems on the car, while also serving as a phone, and video and audio player.
The Audi phone is part of the A1 Metroproject Quattro Concept, Audi´s latest urban car prototype. A hybrid, the A1 combines a 150 bhp 1.4-liter TFSI engine with power directed to the front wheels, and a 41 HP electric motor on the rear axle for extra torque. Operating only on electricity, the A1 can travel up to 62 miles, and can be recharged at a normal power outlet.
One of the most innovative parts of the A1 concept is the phone, acting as a remote version of the in-car Audi MMI interface, which can slide into a slot on the dash. Equipped with both Wi-Fi and 3G UMTS technology, the phone features a combination key fob, remote starting, and even allows drivers to control the heating system remotely, warming up the car on cold winter mornings.
And because everyone is going to want an Audi A1, the phone has anti-theft features, too. The phone teams up with an onboard camera, which snaps pictures when suspecting the entrance of an intruder, and then wirelessly sends the pictures to the phone. Then, acting like a LoJack, it switches on the car´s tracking device following the car´s location.
The Audi phone can also function as an MP3 player and a navigation unit. The interface, a touch-sensitive screen with only four main softkeys (like an iPhone), can recognize Latin and Japanese characters, and can also decipher handwriting. Perhaps the biggest concern about such a high-tech device is getting used to safely using it—or not using it—while driving.