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Motorola Planning In-Vehicle Internet Radio

Motorola said it is developing an Internet radio prototype called Smart Radio, a wireless Web access device intended for use in automobiles.

Calling it "a revolutionary concept" in in-vehicle information and entertainment, the company said Smart Radio initially will be launched into the European market. Motorola plans to discuss the product with European car manufacturers.

The device will enable drivers to capture music on demand; listen to real time traffic reports; download audio books; access voicemail; receive the latest news and weather reports; get updated stock portfolio information and access e-mail, Motorola said delivered wirelessly via satellite, digital cellular and FM sideband technologies.

"Motorola's Smart Radio will bring a wireless Web connection to cars, transforming the driving experience all over Europe," said Tom Tischhauser, vice president and director, Motorola's Telematics Communications Group, EMEA. "It offers car manufacturers one more way to make driving more exciting and convenient."

"Smart Radio is designed to make Web content easy to access, manage and control," Tischhauser added. "And all Smart Radio communications can be done hands-free, which means drivers can keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road."

Complete with voice recognition and text-to-speech technologies, Smart Radio is essentially a wireless Web client device that will provide drivers with a range of service levels, from basic to premium packages, much like ordering digital TV.

In addition, a personalized Web page will enable Smart Radio to be configured anywhere drivers and passengers have an Internet connection -- at home, in the office or the car. For drivers with other mobile devices including pagers and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), data such as address books, calendar functions, and favorite Web bookmarks can be synchronized on demand between Smart Radio and the device.