Audi rumored to develop replaceable SIM slot for connected dashboards

What’s your pleasure, a dashboard that allows you to plug in your personal devices with their data plans for streaming music on the road? Or a self-contained connected dash with its own Internet connectivity and embedded apps? In the first case, you’re bringing your own entertainment dashboard into the car, on your smartphone. In the second case, you can leave your gear at home and still enjoy your playlists while driving.

Fierce Wireless reports that Audi, which is developing its in-car tech along the lines of the second scenario, might announce a replaceable SIM-card slot for its A3 model, at the Consumer Electronics Show next January. Some current Audi models have an SIM card in the dash now, with a factory-installed SIM as the only card which will work with the onboard telematics. The data plan is provided by T-Mobile.

The problem with a one-SIM solution is that the connectivity solution built into the card might become obsolete — for example, when cell phone networks upgrade their bandwidth capability. Car companies might be glad if trade-in decisions were synched with the development cycles of telecom companies, but that doesn’t necessarily fly with consumers.

Making the card switchable enables drivers to bring their own data plans into the car, to power the car’s connected dash systems. It’s a hybrid of the two scenarios above — leave your devices at home, bring your own Internet into the vehicle with a SIM, and enjoy the dashboard’s integrated apps and services.

Brad Hill