Tech companies have discovered a wonderful thing -- the onboard diagnostics port on new cars. By creating dongles that interface with the car's computer, you can add connected-car tech to vehicles that are rather old. Samsung's new Connect Auto does exactly that, and it's not even limited to Samsung phone users.
Connect Auto provides a wealth of connected-car tech. GPS lets you keep track of where you parked, and it'll even notify you if the car's been bumped by an errant door or shopping cart. It will also read the codes produced when your "Check Engine" light comes on, giving you a better idea of what's wrong with your car. It can also track your driving habits and score you based on fuel consumption, cornering and speeding.
Samsung partnered with AT&T to provide 4G LTE data for the Connect Auto, as well. Up to 10 devices can take advantage of the built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, so you can shut your kids up with some Netflix watching on road trips. The dongle uses Samsung's proprietary Knox security system to keep miscreants from accessing your data, as well.
Samsung Connect Auto works by plugging into a car's OBD-II port, which is standard equipment on all vehicles manufactured after January 1, 1996 (Samsung has a compatibility list on its site). All you need otherwise is a supported iOS or Android device -- yes, Samsung was nice enough to not make its dongle proprietary.
The company did not disclose a price, but it promised it would be competitive. To compare, Verizon's Hum (which is largely the same thing) costs $30 for the dongle, requires a $20 activation fee and the internet connection itself adds $10 per month to your wireless bill.