Sprint announced Drive today, a device that plugs into your older car, giving it some modern features, including GPS and Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi is powered by Sprint's 4G LTE network, but it goes beyond that, because it's connecting your car to an app on your phone.
"Sprint Drive harnesses the power of the Sprint 4G LTE network to literally transform cars into smart, connected vehicles – something we all can benefit from," said Dow Draper, Sprint chief commercial officer. "And, once again, Sprint delivers the best value for unlimited data – even for your car – all on our incredible network built for unlimited."
You can see your vehicle's health, and also check the health of the battery. You should also be able to see how much fuel the car has left. The screenshots taken above were from when the device was plugged into a 2011 Toyota Corolla, which doesn't even have a touchscreen, let alone its own Wi-Fi.
The feature can be useful for shared cars. For example, if you have a child that's taking the car out, you can see where that person is going and how fast they're driving. You'll even get a driver score that shows hard brakes, hard acceleration, and even how long the car idles for. At this time, there's no way to set up different profiles for different drivers of the same vehicle.
You can also look and see where the car has been driven. If you're wondering where that sushi restaurant you went to yesterday was, you can just check where you went. You can also see if your kids took the car out in the middle of the night, and you can even set curfews and boundaries, so you'll get a notification whenever someone drives past a certain time or beyond a certain point.
Note that this isn't exactly a discreet spy tool for keeping tabs on your family, and it's not meant to be. Sprint Drive plugs into the OBD II port that's found by the steering column on most cars, and can easily be removed. Also, you probably shouldn't count on a thief not removing it should your car be stolen.
It's meant to augment your driving experience, making your car safer for you and others that drive it. You can even call for Roadside Assistant from right within the Sprint Drive application.
There are two plans that you can choose from. For $10 a month, you'll get 2GB of mobile hotspot data, and for $25 a month, data is unlimited. Starting on Wednesday, the device itself will be free with a 24-month installment plan.