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USA: GM touts 4G-capable, iPad-armed Chevrolet Volt at SXSW

If a new Apple iPad tablet computer can tap into the fastest 4G cellular networks, why shouldn’t your car exploit the same speedy wireless broadband?

The folks at General Motors think it should. Parked on a sidewalk outside the Austin Convention Center is a Chevy Volt that is GM’s “second generation connected research vehicle.” It’s here as part of the South By Southwest gathering of all things cool and techie.

Inside the car are two modified Galaxy Tab tablet computers, each capable of showing off wireless streaming movies. Sure, lots of cars these days have DVD players. But the ability to stream movies and other content gives rear-seat passengers a lot more entertainment and informational choices, theoretically from the likes of Netflix or Hulu, or even from material you’ve recorded on your DVR at home.

Drive On got a demo. The screens showed the Angry Birds game, clips from the movie Rio, and a live Skype video call. You can do tablet-to-tablet gaming. And lest the back-seaters get too carried away, the driver has the ability to override the tablets from an in-dash console.

GM’s OnStar subsidiary and Verizon Wireless had the car on display during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last January but advances have been made since, and the vehicle is in a much more public setting in Austin.


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