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Viper's SmartStart car control app hits Android

Viper's SmartStart mobile app comes to its third platform this week. The car starting, door unlocking, and panic button enabling app hits Android's Market on Thursday and brings the same features found on iPhone and BlackBerry devices.

The Viper SmartStart app on a HTC Nexus One.
The Viper SmartStart app on a HTC Nexus One. Directed Electronics

Android users with Viper remote start systems who have wanted to use their phones to lock, unlock, and start their cars are now in luck. On Thursday, Viper creator Directed Electronics is making its Viper SmartStart app available on the Android Market, as well as through its site.

The company released the same version of the app for iPhone users back in October and to BlackBerry users at January's CES.

The app, which contains no new or additional features over those versions lets users start their car using their phone, as well as doing things like locking and unlocking doors, opening the trunk, and setting off the panic alarm.

The app is free, though it requires that users have Viper's SmartStart security hardware installed in their car, as well as an active subscription to the company's $29.99 a year security service. As mentioned in previous coverage, new SmartStart buyers get a year of this for free when they buy the SmartStart hardware, which runs anywhere from $499 for a new installation, or $299 to add o an existing Viper alarm system.

Since releasing this remote unlock and start technology for mobile devices, other hardware makers have gotten on board with apps that share information with on-board vehicle computers. Most notably it's been OnStar, which has its own series of apps for General Motors cars, including a special one for the Chevrolet Volt. It lets Volt owners user their mobile phones to do all the normal things like toggling car door locks, honking the horn and turning the headlights on an off, as well as more vehicle specific tasks like running vehicle battery diagnostics.