Cadillac's DeVille and Seville may have been the first automobiles to be connected to the Internet, but only by a bit, and they certainly won't be the last.
Other General Motors vehicles, including the GMC Yukon Denali, Denali XL and Cadillac Escalade sport-utilities and all Saabs, are quickly adding Internet connectivity. Other automakers also are adding Internet connectivity to their vehicles.
The Internet connection in Cadillacs, which will be an option on DeVilles and Sevilles by year end, is part of the Bose 'infotainment' system and is made possible through OnStar, GM's communications and navigation service.
The infotainment system combines several technologies, including online e-mail, navigation, CD-ROM, and an infrared port to download information to and from a computer or personal data assistant, such as a PalmPilot. Drivers will be able to read e-mail on an in-dash screen when their Cadillac is stopped or parked. The infotainment system allows drivers to download e-mail to a personal data assistant and read it later. Or the driver, simply by saying 'read e-mail,' can listen to e-mail over the vehicle's audio system while driving.
The portable cellular phone can be operated with a keypad or through voice recognition.
Mercedes-Benz is offering Internet connectivity in many of its 2001 models. Vehicles equipped with Mercedes' telematics system can now subscribe to Web-based services provided to Mercedes by CNN Interactive. With the push of a button, drivers can get selected stock quotes, news, sports and weather that are downloaded and displayed on the screen. Calendar reminders also are possible.
The Mercedes owner logs on to the automaker's Web site and customizes his or her preferences on a personal Web page within Mercedes' site. The annual fee is $125 plus airtime.
A touch of a button summons emergency assistance as well as the usual information.
All Lincolns will be available this year with advanced telematics and communications.