Samsung’s own offerings, when it comes to connected automobiles, seem to be concentrating on accessories as opposed to complete solutions like Android Auto or Apple’s CarPlay, as the latest of these, Samsung Connect Auto, is essentially a Tizen-powered dongle that fits into a car’s OBD-II port to act as a complete Wi-Fi hotspot, harnessing 4G/LTE connectivity to do so.
The first supported network on the dongle is AT&T’s 4G offerings. In addition to this, it also has GPS support and offers safe driving algorithms with notifications being sent out to relatives in the event of an accident, in addition to a “find my car” app for users. Also, because it has access to the OBD port, it will double as a source of information for users when it comes to errors or issues generated by the car. More importantly, should users wish to use it, Samsung can transmit their data and driving specifics to insurance service providers to allow them to receive customized offers or discounts based on the data collected.
According to Samsung, the device is expected to be phased into the US market by Q2 2016 with a complete global rollout initiating in Q3 2016. With an increasing focus on smart devices and appliances of late, Samsung’s latest push into the automobile sector via the Connect Auto may just be more than an isolated release; it could very well be positioning itself in order to release more connected or smart devices, before making a push into the industry via Tizen in the near future.
This does not come as a surprise, given the advances that Google has made on its own automobile-related projects, as well as Apple’s rumoured “Project Titan”; something the Cupertino-based tech giant refuses to talk about even today. Samsung potentially wishes to position itself as an accessories and connected devices manufacturer, as opposed to a full-blown ecosystem, driven by current IoT standards. Whether it succeeds in such a lofty goal or not, remains to be seen.