By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Chrysler Group became the first company to announce a car communications system based on the user's own private cellular phone through a Bluetooth interface.
Available this spring through Mopar aftermarket dealers and early 2003 in production cars, the new system includes a display — integrated with a car's radio or rear-view mirror — and Bluetooth hands-free circuitry that eventually will be built into the car dashboard.
Users with a cellphone on their person can place a call by voice commands. "When you place a call it overrides your radio and you can control the volume of the call through the radio and the sound comes out through the car speakers," said a spokesman.
Drivers can maintain their personal cellphone number and retain their current carrier. They can also sign up for enhanced services through AT&T Wireless, which will be announced in the future.
Chrysler has not yet named its new communications system and pricing has not been determined.
Speaking at a news conference here, Chrysler Group CFO Wolfgang Bernard said the Chrysler communications system is "easier to operate than a VCR." He added, "We believe it will be the most cost-effective offering on the marketplace and we are confident our system will have the best voice recognition and be the most cost effective."
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