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MWC 2010: Qualcom & Audi Unveil 'Smartcar'

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There was a running joke at Mobile World Congress 2010 that you'd find Qualcomm in just about everything - and you can see why...
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Amongst the more elaborate announcements at the show was news that Qualcomm and Audi have sealed a deal to offer integrated 3G and WiFi connectivity to its new range of A8 cars later this year.
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Naturally enough the only way to show-off such a concept was to plonk an Audi A5 Cabriolet into the halls at MWC and fit it out to a degree that would make Pimp My Ride jealous. Dubbed a 'mobile hotspot', it can fire out a 3G signal over WiFi so users can connect all their devices over a single connection. We have seen similar concepts before from the likes of Mercedes, but this was the most fully realised. It also links Audi's in-dash Mobile Media Interface (MMI) and sat nav to live website threads such as the BBC and even Google Earth.
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Notably passengers in the rear seats were served up a pair of TV screens as well which could copy the display in the front or provide their own standalone services including streaming video. Audi has yet to put a price on this most high-tech of options, but don't expect it to come cheap.
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In related news Directed Electronics Inc. also showed off the 'Viper SmartStart', possibly the most ambitious smartphone app to date.
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A software and hardware combo, the company fits a hardware module into your car and pairs the app to it. Once installed, owners can use Viper to lock or unlock their cars, open the trunk (if applicable) and set off the car's alarm in an emergency. The Viper app can be paired with multiple cars and works via Bluetooth meaning you could potentially say goodbye to carrying keys. Just be careful your phone battery doesn't go flat!
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We await UK pricing and availability and while I have some doubts as to its practicality, there is no doubt of its bling factor...

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