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Chrysler taps Sprint for new Uconnect in-car data, wants always-on internet that's hands-off (video)

Interior technology is increasingly the main battlefield for automotive giants. We shouldn't be surprised, then, that Chrysler is bringing in some bigger guns for its Uconnect service through a team-up with Sprint. The carrier will integrate its cellular data into a Uconnect Access system where the source of pride is precisely how little Chrysler drivers will need to touch it: the two want voice commands that cut down the amount of involvement needed to plot a new course, change the music input or send a text message. Smartphones also get much more of a say in the matter this time around, providing remote control to open and ready the car before owners even set a foot inside. WiFi hotspot support carries on as well. Just be aware that you'll have to go big or go home to get an early taste of the new Uconnect -- it's available only in the 2013 model years of the Ram 1500 and SRT Viper for now, neither of which is especially gentle on the pocketbook.

Update: It looks like the 2013 Dodge Dart R/T will also get the Uconnect goodies, which Sprint's press release neglected to mention. [Thanks, Nathan]

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Chrysler Group Enlists Sprint for Strategic Wireless Partner Role Enabling Uconnect Access

* Chrysler Group's Uconnect®Access is revolutionizing how we travel -- featuring simple, smart, next-generation in-vehicle services that enhance convenience, productivity and entertainment.
* Sprint to provide wireless systems integration and telematics expertise to Chrysler Group.
* Easy-to-use, easy-to-learn Uconnect Access features are available on the 2013 Ram 1500 pickup and SRT Viper supercar.

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), August 06, 2012 - Chrysler Group LLC and Sprint (NYSE: S), recognized innovation leaders in the automotive and wireless industries, have developed a new wireless in-vehicle connectivity experience for the Ram 1500 pickup and SRT Viper. The companies are evolving Uconnect to include a variety of new, easy-to-use connected features and services that are designed to help keep drivers focused on the primary driving task.

Enabling the Uconnect experience...

Chrysler Group has enlisted the network, systems integration and consumer market expertise of Sprint in a strategic partnership designed to seamlessly integrate wireless technology into Chrysler Group's Uconnect Access in-vehicle communication system. The result is an inspiring customer experience, with convenient features that make travel productive and entertaining. For instance, on- and off-board voice recognition technology makes the car smarter so drivers can use their voice to easily compose text messages or enter destination information into the navigation system in one step.

...with the Sprint Connected Vehicle Platform

The Uconnect Access platform uses the Sprint Connected Vehicle Platform architecture and delivers built-in vehicle connectivity via embedded wireless technology. Sprint Velocity for Vehicle Manufacturers delivers a unique and customized end-to-end solution. Based on a collaborative approach, Sprint Velocity's benefits include reduced complexity and nimble technology updates, which help generate greater customer loyalty.

Sprint also complements Chrysler Group's strong customer relationship strategy with its own award-winning expertise in generating customer satisfaction among consumers. Sprint is the No. 1-ranked major wireless carrier for customer satisfaction in the 2012 American Customer Satisfaction Index.

"Chrysler has chosen Sprint as the strategic partner to fulfill the key role of systems integrator for Uconnect Access," said Marios Zenios, Head of Uconnect Systems and Services, Chrysler Group LLC. "Chrysler's goal is to continue enhancing the ease-of-use of technology inside the car. Key factors in our decision to choose Sprint included Sprint's best-in-class end-to-end telematics platform, secure and reliable network, unparalleled relationships within the telematics and broad Machine-to-Machine (M2M) ecosystem, and nimble consumer market experience, including a deep understanding of how customers experience and interact with wireless-based applications, both in and out of the vehicle."

Matt Carter, president, Wholesale and Emerging Solutions – Sprint, added, "Chrysler and Sprint are pioneering an unprecedented level of strategic collaboration, uniquely elevating the wireless provider's role to end-to-end systems integrator. Sprint has broken out of the industry norm and re-invented the enablement model for in-vehicle connectivity. We are expanding the wireless core competency to include integration of the complex components and partner ecosystem needed to harness the full power of wireless technology inside the vehicle. Sprint is proud to serve Chrysler Group as a trusted automotive technology partner and to help create an exceptional experience for their customers."

James Brehm, senior strategist, Compass Intelligence, said, "The strategic partnership with Chrysler Group puts Sprint in the spotlight as a leader in providing end-to-end automotive connectivity and telematics solutions. Sprint, with deep understanding of how consumers communicate coupled with experience in providing telematics and mobile resource management (MRM) solutions, is clearly demonstrating its capacity to manage a complex ecosystem that meets exacting and demanding requirements. The end result is a different kind of a revolutionary driver and passenger connected experience through Uconnect Access."

Merging the consumer wireless experience into the vehicle

Today's smartphone and tablet users expect to carry a wealth of wirelessly enabled lifestyle applications wherever they go, including in the car. Delivered with convenience features such as hands-free calling and voice command, Uconnect Access expands the in-vehicle experience to include a variety of features and services that will keep drivers focused on driving. For example, drivers can wirelessly stream the Internet, or play music from their MP3, while passengers can simultaneously connect laptops, tablets or smartphones via the vehicle's WiFi hot spot.

Driver experience enhanced with telematics

Chrysler Group and Sprint share a commitment to technology that promotes driver focus. For example, Uconnect helps drivers maintain focus by using Bluetooth®-equipped mobile phones for hands-free calling and texting. Uconnect Access also includes other features to manage in-vehicle connectivity, such as one-touch 9-1-1 calling, roadside or vehicle assistance.

Sprint's deep supplier ecosystem enables system integration

Uconnect Access draws on a wide field of suppliers with the proven, specialized expertise needed to support its varied components. As the system integrator for Uconnect Access, Sprint is leveraging its extensive and multi-faceted ecosystem to identify and integrate the best service and application providers. Accessibility to this wide net of potential suppliers also helps facilitate the discovery and development of innovative new features for consumers.

Flexible network platform ensures a reliable in-vehicle experience

Sprint's secure network ensures accurate and reliable connectivity for an expansive range of telematics applications, including the ability to lock or unlock your vehicle, and to access a 9-1-1 or roadside assistance operator at the push of a button. To ensure that the growing demand for telematics and other advanced solutions will be met, Sprint has embarked on Network Vision, a multiyear network initiative designed to enhance customers' experience with faster data speeds, improved voice quality and easier connectivity.

Uconnect Access with enhanced connected services just around the corner

Chrysler Group has announced that Uconnect Access will be available in the re-designed 2013 Ram 1500 pickup and the all-new SRT Viper supercar. The vehicles will include a range of new connected features and services. For more information about Uconnect Access watch the video or visit