The unpleasant truth about the connected car is that, at least for a while, the price for such a car will be quite high. This means that not many people will be able to afford it, despite the fact that most of them want one.
For many, a smart car means more than a car that is connected to the Internet, has lots of apps and built-in features. The connected car comes as an extension to one’s smartphone. While some cars come with smart technology, it is not as evolved as the one you can find in connected vehicles.
We all know that technology is evolving extremely fast. What may seem like an innovation today could become quickly outdated in a year.
There are over 250 millions cars on the road in the US alone. So the expansion of the market is definitely not a problem here.
Many of these cars are not connected to the Internet and that is because the systems that already exist are proprietary. This means that the process of creating car apps is expensive for software developers, thus it’s not considered as being worth it.
Vinli has come up with the solution
Vinli, a Texas startup from Dallas, created a device that plugs into your car and voilà: You now have a connected car. It’s as simple as that.
OK, let’s just backtrack a little bit.
At the beginning of June, Vinli raised $6.5 million in Series A funding led by Samsung Venture Investment Corporation. Pretty impressive for a startup. Vinli wants to use the money to massively grow their sales, expand their partnerships and also focus on research and development.
How does Vinli work?
The device itself is a mobile hotspot that plugs into the port that is under your car’s dashboard. The device works via an OBD II port, which means that it can be used with any car that was made after 1996. It also has 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Smart, which will connect your old car to the web via a 4G LTE subscription.
After users connect the device to their car, they will be able to access the App Store from where they will customize and choose what features they want to have. They can also download web apps for Android or iOS devices.
Here is a video that will show you its features:
The devide has a built-in GPS which allows you to find your car if you ever forget where you’ve parked it. You can even track its location if it ever gets stolen.
Thanks to the Internet connection, a driver can contact road assistance if necessary. In order to avoid unexpected situations where your car might break down without any apparent reason, Vinli will send notifications telling you what maintenance issues your car might have.
For example, with the Dash program, users will be able to see maps, directions and useful tips, such as where they can find the cheapest gas. They can also see driving stats that will tell them whether or not they need to improve their driving.
There are other useful apps as well, such as Otto (which is a car diagnostic program), Flo and Safedrive, which reward the driver for having a good driving behavior.
For software developers, Vinli is a great opportunity. The device runs on Linux and developers can sign up to access an open developer portal to make their own apps.
With Samsung being one of the backers, Vinli has definitely got some amazing potential. Not to mention the bargain price you pay for transforming your car into a connected one.
Where to buy Vinli
You can get your own Vinli device only online right now for the price of $99. The company expects the devices to be ready for shipment in August when the device will probably be sold for $150 in major retail stores, like Best Buy or Walmart.
Vinli made an exclusive partnership with T-Mobile. For 1GB, users will have to pay $15 or they could pay $40 for 3GB. Users have another option as well: To access Vinli with the Bluetooth connection on their smartphones.
Who wants to transform their vehicle into a connected car?
Vinli has come up with an unbeatable offer for those that are dreaming about having their own smart car one day. It has everything that a connected car has, so it’s definitely something worth checking out.
What do you think about this device? Would you buy one?