Bluetooth is defined as any two wireless devices that can communicate together such as phones, PDAs, desktop and laptop computers. The most common usage of the term, however, is in modern day automobiles. Cars as of yet don't offer wireless laptop connectivity, but many do offer wireless cell phone connections, often times with voice activation.
Why It's Needed
The predominant need for Bluetooth technology came in cars with the rise in cell phone usage. Statistics showed that rising insurance and accident rates were due to people being distracted by their cell phones while driving. This inspired many states to pass laws that banned cell phone use in cars. In some instances, Bluetooth connectivity or using a wireless headpiece became the only legal way to receive or make a call while driving on the road.
Cost and History
Most older non-luxury models did not come standard with Bluetooth and even then not all of them came with it as standard. Drivers of cars without Bluetooth can still use their cell phone in the car, however, if they purchase a Bluetooth-enabled headset (most of which run from $50 to several hundred dollars). Also, the only way to use Bluetooth in your car with a built-in system or a headset is with a Bluetooth-equipped phone.
Cars with and without Bluetooth
Many cars, like the $13,000 Kia Soul, come with standard Bluetooth. In the techno-savvy 2010 Toyota Prius, however, it is an option you have to pay for. This disparity in technological implementation has caused much confusion among consumers, many of whom assume their new car comes with it standard. The best way to ensure your car is equipped with Bluetooth is to either check the manufacturer's website for a list of standard features or check your owner's manual.
At the Dealership
Many people are shocked when they find out that most Hyundai/Kia and Ford products have Bluetooth as standard while some BMW and Toyota models leave out this important safety feature. Either that or they charge extra to add Bluetooth to the list of optional extras. The most common place to find Bluetooth not as standard is in supercars from manufacturers like Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and until recently Maserati (which now equips its cars with it as standard).
For the 2010 model year many cars that did not previously have Bluetooth as even an option are introducing the technology. While you should always check with the manufacturer first as its standard feature lists is prone to change without notice, here is a short list of 2010 models with newly standard Bluetooth. In no particular order they are the 2010 Volvo S40, Toyota Venza, Toyota Land Cruiser, VW Golf, Jetta and GTI and all 2010 Audi models. All told it is predicted that for the 2010 model year 38 percent of all vehicles sold will have Bluetooth.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jeff Keyzer Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Nam Nguyen Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jeff Wilcox Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Mike Babcock
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