Pretty soon, some BlackBerry users will get to put away their key fobs and begin powering on their cars using only the smartphone.
Directed Electronics' Viper SmartStart app for BlackBerry will give drivers remote power to lock and unlock the car, pop the trunk, trigger the panic siren, and yes, start that engine from afar. We're also hoping that like the iPhone version, Viper SmartStart for BlackBerry will be able to control multiple vehicles and add in layers of security so that would-be smartphone thieves don't get a free car in the process.
While the Viper app will be free from BlackBerry App World (and likely from the Viper site as well,) getting any hardware you don't have will run you between $300 and $500 smackeroos.
If you've got a compatible Viper remote start system already in place, the VSM100 Viper SmartStart upgrade module or the equivalent DSM100 Directed SmartStart module will set you back $299. If these names fail to ring a bell, you'll be looking at acquiring a remote start system from Viper, Clifford, or Python to talk to the app. Viper's SmartStart System (VSS4000), which is fully compatible with the app, lists for $499. The bloodletting doesn't stop there. If the terms from the iPhone app hold with BlackBerry, you'll also need an active subscription to Viper's Smart Start service, which goes for $29.99 after the first free year.
Since Viper SmartStart comes at a hefty price and requires much professionally-installed hardware, it's a safe assumption that the SmartStart app won't make its way onto most US residents' lists of must-have apps. However, the luxury of starting, pinging, or unlocking your car from anywhere in the country has its benefits--getting the car going without you having to brave the elements, popping the trunk while you're at work to let a family member retrieve an item, readying your getaway car.
Still, for the up-front and ongoing price, we'd like to see even more remote controls, such as cranking on the heat or air conditioning, waking up the radio, and defogging the glass.