The Chrysler Group announced June 17 nationwideavailability of UConnect, its in-vehicle, hands-free, voice-activatedcommunications system. The Chrysler Group says it is the first North Americanautomaker to offer its customers a Bluetooth-enabled automotiveapplication."Chrysler Group's UConnect system is hands-free, affordable andeasy-to-use," said Jack Withrow, director, Vehicle Entertainment andCommunications for the Chrysler Group. "UConnect allows each customer tohave just one communication device with one telephone number. It'sappropriate technology that's in touch with our customers. UConnect is allabout safety, freedom and flexibility."UConnect is available as a Mopar dealer-installed offering on the following2004 model year vehicles:
Chrysler - PT Cruiser, 300M, Concorde, Pacifica, Sebring Coupe, Sebring Sedan, Town & Country
Dodge - Stratus Coupe, Stratus Sedan, Neon, Intrepid, Caravan, Grand Caravan, Dakota, Durango, Ram
Jeep® - Liberty, Grand Cherokee.UConnect debuts in the third quarter as a factory-installed option on theall-new 2004 Chrysler Pacifica. Factory-installation is $275. The costfor the dealer-installed version of UConnect is $299 (suggested retailprice) plus labor.Both factory- and dealer-installed versions of UConnect operate similarly.The dealer-installed version consists of a control pad, speaker,microphone, wiring harness and a control module containing voicerecognition software and the Bluetooth chipset. The control pad and themicrophone are the only visible items to the consumer.According to the company, the control pad is conveniently mounted on the vehicle dashboard and themicrophone is attached to the overhead console. A hidden speaker transmitsthe audio. The factory-installed version allows the audio to be heardthrough the vehicle's radio speakers and a microphone is housed in thevehicle's rearview mirror serving as the driver interface.In both versions, the user's mobile phone may then be placed wherever theuser chooses within the vehicle. Conversations may be continued uponentering or exiting the vehicle, without disrupting the call.Chrysler Group turned to Peiker acustic, Inc., a supplier of communication products in both Europe and North America, to provide thehands-free system for the Mopar dealer-installed version of UConnect.For factory-installation, Johnson Controls (JCI) is the hardwaresupplier, designing and manufacturing the UConnect control module, andintegrating the system's components for the factory-installed version. JCIutilizes Intel's X-Scale microprocessor, IBM's ViaVoice, Bluetooth chipsetsfrom Broadcomm, and QNX's operation system. Gentex supplies rearviewmirrors to Chrysler Group, which houses the microphone and buttons forUConnect functionality.According to the comapny, UConnect is adaptable to specific needs and lifestyles. Consumers can usetheir current carrier and telephone number or sign up for enhanced serviceswith AT&T Wireless. It's hassle-free, using one phone and one phonenumber. A wide range of personal services are provided through AT&TWireless' #121 VoiceInfo, which delivers features such as sports, stockquotes and breaking news at no additional monthly fee. UConnect allows upto five phones to be used within the vehicle's system, adapting to anindividual or a family.UConnect is the first generation in a family of hands-free,voice-activated, Bluetooth-powered offerings. Mopar also plans to offerUConnect in the future to customers of past model year Chrysler Groupvehicles.