Vinli Sync: The Connected Car Goes Phone-Free

Vinli Sync: The Connected Car Goes Phone-Free

Vinli is an unassuming smart stick that acts as a wifi hotspot, comes with a suite of apps, and aims to replace OnStar in the digital age. It’s latest trick? You can leave your smartphone at home thanks to a 4G connection to the cloud called Vinli Sync.

We covered Vinli last month at the Big Android BBQ where it made waves by turning cars from 1996 into modern smart machines, but the basics are worth repeating. Every car rolling off the line since the mid ’90s comes with an on-board diagnostic system (OBD-II) for looking at things like speed, throttle, and error codes. The Vinli stick plugs into this port under the dash and packs a few extras such as an active data connection. From this point on, the world is at developers’ finger tips.

Here’s what Vinli’s CTO, Powell Kinney, had to say about the stick when we sat down with him last month in Texas:

Like most OBD-II sensors, Vinli is a plug-and-play component that works with Torque, Dash, and many other popular apps on the market. Beyond the standard diagnostic suite, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi connects phones, tablets, and laptops to blazing fast LTE as a portable hotspot. While this data connection can indirectly fuel any app on your phone for around 84 cents per MB, Vinli Sync does away with the phone requirement entirely by beaming info directly to the cloud for select apps.

If your car is stolen, Lock & Key will help you find it. If your teenage driver is late getting home, Beagle will notify you. If your spouse’s car needs maintenance attention, My Service Shop keeps you informed. If you’re in an accident, eCall immediately notifies your emergency contact.

Your phone does not need to be in the car for these services to work. Vinli Sync stays connected to send the information that matters to you and your loved ones. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the next block from your car, or on the other side of the world. And it’s all instant.

Products & ServicesCost
Vinli Connected Car Device$199.99 ea
Hotspot Data (500 MB / 1 GB / 3 GB)$5.99 / $15 / $40 ea
Vinli SyncFree (2 years), $29.99 / yr thereafter

OBD-II sensors are neither new nor uncommon, but the LTE-enabled Vinli stick makes a compelling case for drivers looking to upgrade aging cars with OnStar-like service.

More: Vinli | Vinli Sync Announcement

What do you think? Does Vinli’s data connection and deep integration with the car’s on-board computer make it the best OBD-II sensor on the market? Would you pay $30 per year to not worry about connecting your phone? Let us know in the comments!

About author

Chris Gilliam
Chris Gilliam

Chris Gilliam is a front-end web developer with a background in physics, but his passions lie with open ecosystems, Android, linked data, and the unfettered exchange of ideas. He dreams of a semantic future in which knowledge organically evolves within hives of creativity like the XDA forums, and works, tinkers, and writes to help make that future possible.