Yes, we are quite aware that today is the day Samsung will finally unveil the eagerly-anticipated Galaxy S7. But, sadly, the Unpacked event is still a few hours away, which, however, is not to say that the Korean giant doesn't have any other announcements to make at the MWC 2016.
In keeping with current trends, Samsung, just like other tech titans (Google and Apple for example) has set its sights on the future of car technology. Of course, the company is already working with the likes of BMW, SEAT and SAP on ambitious future connected car projects, like digital keys and car payment systems. But, as a stepping stone and a lot more reachable step, there is Samsung Connect Auto, which will be showcased at the venue.
The project actually consists of a smart plug, which you can connect to the OBD-II port of mostly any recent car, which means you can probably pick up one for yourself without a costly vehicle upgrade.
The concept is not new and there are at least a couple of good alternatives already out there, but Samsung intends to leverage the entirety of its software services to take the concept one step beyond, plus, Connect Auto promises a huge focus on security.
The little device will be based on Tizen OS and KNOX will keep all the info under lock and key. As for functionality, once the device starts pulling data from the OBD-II interface, it can give you driving suggestions, fuel economy tips and also diagnostic and repair warnings as early as possible.
The Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) feature can also be used to feed information to insurance companies for better offers if the user chooses to enable it.
Trip and driving data can also be aggregated and emailed as a report or exported for a more in-depth analysis, which is part of Samsung's aim to market the device as a fleet business solution, as well as an end user one.
The device itself will also be equipped with a surprising amount of hardware, including GPS for precise locations and LTE for remote reporting. This, however, does mean that you will likely have to get a data plan, contract or prepaid for your car. This can also power the "Find My Car" feature. Plus, there is also Wi-Fi on board, which can share the LTE connection through a hotspot for passengers to use.
Samsung Connect Auto will initially be available in the second quarter in the U.S. AT&T will be the first wireless provider of the solution in the U.S.