The world’s biggest mobile tech giants seem to have gained a lot of interest in the automotive industry over the past several years, which makes a certain amount of sense if you think about it. With the help of smartphone and chipset manufacturers (including NVIDIA), cars are getting smarter with each generation and, in fact, they may become so smart that soon enough, they might no longer require a driver. But before self-driving cars become an ordinary thing, companies like Samsung aim at “smartening” our current vehicles with new products designed to enrich the experience of driving and owning a car – even an older one at that. Samsung’s latest such product is called “Samsung Connect Auto” and brings fast cellular connectivity to just about any vehicle.
Samsung Connect Auto was announced yesterday – one day before the company lifts the veil on the Samsung Galaxy S7 at MWC – and consists of a device that connects with, and brings 4G connectivity to any car equipped with an on-board diagnostic port, or OBD for short. Technically, this means that Samsung Connect Auto should be compatible with just about any vehicle manufactured in the past two decades. The product is similar to Verizon’s Hum service, in that it monitors the vehicle, provides relevant data to the user, and can offer roadside assistance. It’s also interesting to note that Samsung’s dongle works on Tizen OS as opposed to Android. Tizen is the company’s proprietary operating system for mobile devices, which can be found on a handful of Samsung smartphones as well as the company’s smartwatch line-up.
Although Samsung Connect Auto is not yet ready for the market, the Korean tech giant is working closely with AT&T to bring the service to US shores sometime in the second quarter of the year. Aside from AT&T, Samsung already partnered up with quite a few other companies including China Unicom, Europcar, Ericsson, IBM, Orange, HERE, AXA, Oberthur Technologies, Orange, Openbay, and Willis Towers Watson. Samsung wasn’t able to reveal any details regarding the product’s price, but it’s safe to assume that it should be able to compete with Verizon’s Hum which is available along with a $15 monthly subscription.