An Update on Vinli, a Device to Turn Your Car into a Connected Car
There’s been a clear, rising interest in connected cars lately (not to be confused with self-driving cars, which are a bit further along the road). This is especially true when it comes to some major tech companies that are new to the automobile business, such as Google or Apple. New companies are also showing up to try and cater to the growing consumer interest in this field.
Vinli is such a startup behind a crowd-funded project to turn any recent car into a connected car with Bluetooth capabilities, Internet access (with the ability to act as a WiFi hotspot so you can connect your other devices to it) and several companion apps you install on your phone. It offers a small device (also known as «Vinli») you can connect to your car’s OBD-II port. Any car manufactured after 1996 should have one, usually below the dashboard. The idea is to turn your vehicle into a smart car without spending tens of thousands of dollars.
If you were one of the project’s backers on Indiegogo, the Vinli team has posted an update. After seeking approval for Apple’s App Store, their plan is to release companion apps on both iOS and Android simultaneously, right before shipment begins. About that, production has started on the first 1,000 devices, and the first batch (comprised of 100 units) will be sent to developers. This decision makes sense as it gives developers time to test their apps (thus making them available to users as soon as possible), and shows support to the development community. Another 4000 units are planned for production next, and a complete production schedule and shipping dates estimates should be available around next week.
If you’re interested in learning more about this project, check out the Vinli features page and the Vinli app store for an idea of what’s available. You may pre-order it now for $149.99 (plus shipping), or wait till it’s officially out if you’d rather wait for reviews. As for developers, the documentation and SDKs for building apps (Android, iOS and Node.js SDKs currently available) is already available on the Vinli developer portal.
Don’t forget to visit the XDA Connected Cars forum to discuss this and more with other enthusiasts, or the XDA Android Auto forum if you’re more interested about Google’s automotive platform and head units!