Samsung's Tizen-Based Connect Auto Dongle Turns Your Car Into An LTE Hotspot

Remember when Samsung had big ambitions of taking over the mobile handset market with Tizen, its home brewed operating system? Well, that didn't happen, but instead of scrapping Tizen, Samsung's breathed new life into its OS by pushing it into other mobile markets. One of those is the automobile industry, for which it's new Connect Auto is intended.

Samsung Connect Auto

Connect Auto is a small dongle that plugs directly into the OBD II port that sits somewhere underneath the steering wheel in your car—it's the same port that auto mechanics tap into when trying to decipher why your 'Check Engine' light is on, along with other onboard diagnostics. In this case, the Connect Auto isn't serving as a diagnostic device, but an enhancement to your driving experience.

Samsung says it uses real-time alerts to help motorists improve their driving behavior and increase fuel efficiency. Beyond that, the Auto Connect offers the convenience of Wi-Fi through a built-in 4G LTE radio. That begs of the question of how safe the Auto Connect is, as the last thing you want is for some ornery hacker to remotely cut out your breaks or some other nonsense. To that end, Samsung says the Auto Connect is kept secure using Samsung KNOX, a "defense-grade" mobile security platform.

Samsung Connect Auto Dongle

"We have been listening to our customers and pushing boundaries to create a connected car ecosystem that seamlessly integrates our products and partner services for a better driving experience," said Dr. Injong Rhee, Executive Vice President and Head of R&D, Software and Services, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. "Through collaborations with valuable partners and experts across many industries, we are carrying out our vision of bringing IoT technology to people’s everyday lives."

Samsung says its Connect Auto will be available in the U.S. sometime in the second quarter, with AT&T getting first dibs to offer LTE service.