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Put The Wireless Web In Your Car

Imagine checking your e-mail and contact information about one of your sales partners without leaving your car or taking your hands off the wheel.

Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) and Wingcast Thursday announced a partnership that is expected to put just such a service in Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) and Nissan cars in the next 11 months.

The products and services are a combination of Oracle wireless and voice-activated applications and Wingcast telematics services. Wingcast is a joint venture of Ford and QUALCOMM (Nasdaq: QCOM).

"We think that the best wireless telematics technology will come from the Wingcast and Oracle coalition,'' says Oracle chairman and CEO Larry Ellison. "That's where we're placing our bet."

The service is also expected to use the wireless technology to pinpoint a car's location, which would allow the driver to avoid traffic jams.

"The beautiful thing about this is that we can use existing 2G networks to make this work," says Ellison.

Wingcast president and CEO Harel Kodesh says the service is different from OnStar in the way that it can tap into Web-based applications. The other distinguishing factor is that it will be originally sold in Ford Cars as opposed to General Motor's Cars, which has a corner on the OnStar market.

"Oracle technology will allow Wingcast to accelerate consumer acceptance of telematics and will propel Wingcast to become the defacto industry leader," says Kodesh.

When asked if he had a Ford that he would equip with the new service, Ellison quipped that he had two: a Jaguar and an Aston Martin.

Despite the tracking capabilities, both companies say the information will be kept anonymous.

For the most part, the development will take place at Wingcast's San Diego, Calif.-based labs using Oracle9i Application Server for wireless and Oracle9i databases. Both companies say they will put tremendous resources into the project to make sure it succeeds.

At this point, no price has been suggested for the service. OnStar charges $199 per year or $16.95 per month for its Safety & Security Plan. Its Premium plan costs $399 per year or $34.95 per month.



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