We'd heard that the 2011 Audi A8 would be getting a UMTS modem in mid-2010 to help with things like Google Earth, and it looks like Audi has now delivered that and more -- it's just announced that the car is the first anywhere to be available with a factory-installed WLAN hotspot option. That will apparently let you either drop your SIM card into the car's on-board system or pair your phone with it via Bluetooth, and then share wireless internet access with up to eight WiFi-enabled devices at speeds up to 7.2 mbps -- assuming you actually need any more devices than the two dozen or so that are already built into the car, that is.
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Audi A8 – taking the fast lane onto the World Wide Web

- First factory-installed WLAN hotspot in a car
- Wireless access for iPads, laptops and netbooks
- Secure encryption, stable connection

The new Audi A8 is the first car in the world to offer an optional factory-installed WLAN hotspot for wireless Internet access. Passengers in the front and rear can simultaneously access the Internet through the car's integrated WLAN module and via UMTS, using up to eight terminal devices such as laptops, Apple iPads or netbooks.

Wireless surfing, accessing information, data and e-mails from company networks, and downloading the latest apps for the iPad – passengers in the front and rear can conveniently and securely use all of these features while traveling in the Audi A8, just as if they were in their own office. WPA2 encryption provides the necessary security for the transfer of data.

Using the WLAN hotspot is remarkably simple. To activate Internet access with speeds up to 7.2 Mbit/s, the driver merely needs to insert a data-capable SIM card into the Bluetooth online car phone. Alternatively, an Internet connection can be established via Bluetooth by using a compatible mobile phone with a SIM Access Profile. Any existing mobile phone contract can be used for this – often coupled with a flat-rate data plan.

Communication with the Internet takes place through the rooftop antenna of the Audi A8 via the car's own UMTS module. This enables utmost connection stability with outstanding reception quality.

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2011 Audi A8 gets factory-installed wireless hotspot option