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Automatic upgrades $100 Bluetooth car dongle, launches ‘app store for cars’

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Automatic, a Bluetooth dongle that plugs into your car’s on-board diagnostic port to stream data to your iPhone, has been updated to a new version capable of streaming to two apps at the same time. The company has also launched an ‘app store for cars’ in the form of a webpage with download links to 22 apps that are compatible with the device.

We reviewed the original model back in 2013, when Zac Hall described it as smart, fun and interesting. At the time, it could only stream data to Automatic’s own companion app, but the latest version supports two simultaneous Bluetooth data streams, allowing both Automatic and a second app to receive data simultaneously.

Compatible apps include nine business-oriented apps, allowing things like automated mileage expense claims; convenience apps, like Nest, to pre-heat or cool your home while driving home; safety, like a driving coach to help new drivers; and performance, to provide real-time data to assist in car tuning.

The second-gen Automatic adapter also includes “built-in GPS, Made for iPhone (MFi) certification, and an improved connector to fit better in more cars” at the same $100 price.

Smart driving assistant Automatic partnering with Ford Motors through its in-car Sync platform

All-New 2015 Ford Edge Showcases Technology, Design and CraftsmaAutomatic Labs and Ford Motors are announcing today a new partnership to bring the Automatic Link accessory to more people and add more functionality to the platform. Ford Motors and Automatic Labs will work together to develop features to both the Automatic platform and Ford Sync, the automaker’s in-car infotainment system.

By integrating with Ford’s Sync platform, for example, Automatic users will be able to connect the in-car Sync button to the popular If This Then That automatic service. This turns the push-to-talk button into a one push button for a variety of programmable automation tasks in the car. The two companies say more enhancements will roll out soon through the partnership.

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Automatic: The smart driving assistant for the iPhone era [Review]

For the past few months, I’ve been testing the Automatic Link which aims to make you a safer, more efficient driver. But is it enough to really change your driving habits?

With the holiday season quickly approaching and the hardware now widely available and in stock on Amazon (and Prime eligible at that), what better time to discuss my hands-on experience with the smart driving assistant…



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