You don’t need to buy a new car to get smart features anymore. This tiny little dongle from Samsung gives existing vehicles 4G connectivity, allowing you to connect remotely, access the web on the road, and obtain all kinds of useful information.
It’s called the Samsung Connect Auto, and it plugs into your car’s OBD II diagnostic port. You’ve probably never had to worry about whether or not your car has one of these, but almost all vehicles manufactured in the last 20 years will have.
This port allows vehicle technicians to plug in diagnostic machines and run tests on your car when you take it in for a service, but the rest of its time is spent unused. Samsung wants to change that with the Connect Auto, which is powered by its own Tizen OS.
Once plugged into your vehicle, the Connect Auto provides it with 4G LTE connectivity. You can then use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot for speedy data connectivity while you’re on the road, and to locate your car using the “Find My Car” app that’s coming soon.
What’s more, the Connect Auto keeps an eye on things like fuel consumption and distance traveled to provide you with useful information that could improve your driving behavior. It also has a “virtual mechanic” that provides alerts when your vehicle needs a checkup.
Samsung Connect Auto is secured by the company’s KNOX technology, and it will launch in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2016 with support from AT&T. Samsung hasn’t yet confirmed how much it will cost.