Hands-on with BMW's In-Car 4G LTE Hotspot

One of the trends here at the 2013 New York International Auto Show is the implementation of in-car 4G LTE connectivity. Case in point, BMW is showing off its 4G LTE in-car hotspot accessory. The hotspot, which BMW owners would purchase as an add-on for their vehicle, sits in the center console and provides users with LTE speeds for up to four devices.

To help offset the negative impact a vehicle's roof can have on the hotspot's wireless signal, BMW chose to connect the hotspot to an antenna that terminates on the car's roof, ensuring unhindered connectivity.Unfortunately, we were unable to test the hotspot's connection speeds, because the connection was hampered by the convention center's roof and the overabundance of nearby Wi-Fi signals.

But the hotspot isn't limited to use just in your Bimmer. A button placed at the top of the hotspot disconnects it from your car, allowing you to bring your LTE connectivity with you wherever you go. Unfortunately, BMW says the hotspot's internal battery will on last 30 minutes on a charge. Thankfully, though, BMW equipped the hotspot with a microUSB port, meaning users can continue pulling down 4G speeds as long as they are near a power outlet.

BMW isn't talking pricing or release dates just yet, but we expect those will be worked out in the coming months. The Bauvarians are also remaining tight-lipped on carrier partners for their hotspot, though the most likely candidates would seem to be Verizon or AT&T, which have the largest and second-largest LTE networks, respectively. 

Daniel P. Howley
LAPTOP Senior Writer
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.