High-end automakers like BMW and Audi have already demoed their takes on the "connected car," and even Intel's gotten into the game with its safety-first, egg-shaped iteration. Now Panasonic and AT&T have partnered to explore the concept: Panny will provide hardware and integration, and Ma Bell will handle connectivity. All this concept-exploration will take place in Peachtree City, Georgia, and the team's "connected lifestyle projects" will likely include basic in-car infotainment systems -- think streaming music and video, along with social networking apps. But we're also hoping for some really blue-sky stuff, more like the Mini Cooper's driving-influenced playlist. After all, it won't be long before the cars drive themselves, leaving passengers to demand some serious entertainment. Oh, and speaking of entertainment, check out the press release after the break.
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Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America and AT&T to Explore Connected Car Concepts

Industry-leading technology providers to explore connected lifestyle projects in Peachtree City, GA test community

DETROIT, June 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T* and Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America have formed a working agreement to explore and test connectivity solutions for consumers and commuters.

The new project provides a framework for the two companies to create customized products for global automotive manufacturers in North America. Initial concept testing for interfaces between in-car infotainment systems and emerging mobile devices will begin in late 2011, in the Peachtree City testing community. AT&T will provide network services and Panasonic Automotive Systems Company will supply the hardware and integration services. Financial terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.

"As today's drivers spend increasing amounts of time on the road, they continue to seek vehicles that complement their 'always-on', hyper-mobile lifestyles," said Steve Deguchi, President of Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America. "Automakers that successfully make vehicles that deliver smart, personalized services to drivers on demand have a tremendous opportunity to stand out from the competition. The most appealing vehicles will be those that serve as yet another node in a driver's existing network of devices."

By creating in Peachtree City, a connected model city, fully open to automotive manufacturers, technology providers and others in the ecosystem, the project will provide the framework to help drive innovation for the connected, in-vehicle lifestyle. Both companies will continue to pursue independent initiatives, but plan to work together on select programs in which their combined strengths and expertise will provide increased value and return to automakers and provide an enhanced connected driving experience for consumers and commuters.

"There are incredible wireless opportunities in the automotive space and we've only scratched the surface," said Glenn Lurie, President of emerging devices, resale and partnerships, AT&T. "We continue to explore ways to develop a safer connected ecosystem for emerging devices."

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation's fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile broadband and emerging 4G capabilities, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T │DIRECTV brands. The company's suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising.

Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com. This AT&T news release and other announcements are available at http://www.att.com/newsroom and as part of an RSS feed at www.att.com/rss. Or follow our news on Twitter at @ATT.

About Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America

Based in Peachtree City, Georgia, and with Detroit area operations located in Southfield, MI, Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America is a division company of Secaucus, New Jersey-based Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation. (NYSE: PC) of Osaka, Japan, one of the world's leading developers and producers of innovative digital and other electronic products for consumer, business and industrial use. Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America also acts as the North American operating company of Panasonic's Automotive Systems Company, which coordinates global automotive industry systems and components operations. For more information on Panasonic, www.panasonic.com/automotive.

Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

Information set forth in this news release contains financial estimates and other forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update or revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise.

© 2011 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. Mobile broadband not available in all areas. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

SOURCE Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America