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PLX Devices

PLX intros OBD-II dongles for Android, iPhone

Android phones and iOS devices can now talk directly to your car's computer thanks to the PLX Kiwi Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules.

The Kiwi module itself is a small 2.75 by 1.25 by 0.6 inch box that can easily be tucked away beneath a dashboard.
The Kiwi module itself is a small 2.75-by-1.25-by-0.6-inch box that can easily be tucked away beneath a dashboard. PLX Devices

PLX Devices (manufacturer of the Kiwi fuel-saving device) has expanded its lineup of OBD-II readers. We've already seen the PLX Kiwi Wi-Fi iPhone adapter at last year's SEMA show; now, it has announced the PLX Kiwi Bluetooth for Android phones.

Both devices work in similar ways: users plug the Kiwi dongle into the vehicle's onboard diagnostics port (all vehicles manufactured after 1996 should have one), and connect their iOS device via Wi-Fi or Android OS phone via Bluetooth pairing. At this point, the PLX device will stream vehicle diagnostics information, emissions info, power train data, and trouble codes wirelessly to the smartphone.

It should be noted that the PLX Kiwi Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are only half of the solution for the smartphone-to-vehicle connection. Users will need to purchase and install some sort of diagnostics application on their smartphone to interpret the stream of vehicle data. Android users can use Market apps--such as Torque, alOBD Scanner, or OBDroid--with prices ranging from free to about $5. Over in the iTunes App Store, iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad users' choices include Rev, DashCommand, and FuzzyLuke, which can cost upwards of $40.

The PLX Kiwi Wi-Fi is currently available at an MSRP of $149.99. Android users will have to wait a few days for the September 1 release of the PLX Kiwi Bluetooth, which will retail for $99.99.