Ahead of its Galaxy S7 flagship smartphone launch at the MWC event in Barcelona, Samsung has announced its first "connected car" solution called Samsung Connect Auto. The product is part of an ecosystem of services designed to enable a safe, eco-friendly and more fun driving experience with several useful features for both customers and enterprises.
While Google and Apple have already delved into the car technology industry by introducing automobile standards with cutting edge features called Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, respectively, it looks like the South Korean tech giant is heading in the opposite direction.
Samsung's connected car initiative will be focusing first on older cars. The company claims that its Connect Auto can be plugged into the On-Board Diagnostic (ODB) II port underneath the steering wheel of cars manufactured since the 1990s. The system will then be able to get diagnostics information from the vehicle and provide alerts to improve driving, monitor fuel efficiency and offer a 4G LTE connection.
The Samsung Connect Auto intends to encourage safe driving behavior by utilizing geo-fencing and driver rating algorithms. In the event of an accident, the system will automatically notify predetermined contacts and will also call in accident concierge services.
A "Find My Car" app will allow drivers to easily locate their vehicle in crowded parking lots using GPS and LTE. As such, Connect Auto will not require a connection to a smartphone, it will instead use its own 4G LTE data connection in order to send the data and location of the vehicle to a cloud-based server.
The new car dongle is powered by Samsung's proprietary Tizen OS; it would not be limited to just a few features and services. The device's software development kit will be open to developers so they can create new features and improvements for the dongle. The company says it wants to bridge the gap between auto manufacturers and the mobile industry by creating an ecosystem where partnerships with insurance companies, carriers and roadside assistance operators are possible.
"We have been listening to our customers and pushing boundaries to create a connected car ecosystem that seamlessly integrates our products and partner services for a better driving experience," Dr. Injong Rhee, Executive Vice President and Head of R&D, Software and Services, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics said in a press release. "Through collaborations with valuable partners and experts across many industries, we are carrying out our vision of bringing IoT technology to people's everyday lives."
The Samsung Connect Auto will initially run on AT&T's 4G LTE network in the United States. Samsung has yet to disclose the product's price but says that it will come with a reasonable price tag and will land on AT&T' stores in the second quarter of 2016.