FordPass SmartLink adds Wi-Fi and more to older Ford models

FordPass SmartLinkLast year, Ford announced a device called SmartLink, which would allow owners to add connected features to older cars. Now the automaker is getting ready for a full-scale rollout of the renamed FordPass SmartLink.

SmartLink is designed to give owners of Ford and Lincoln vehicles from model years 2010 to 2017 connectivity features that weren’t available when their cars were new, including smartphone control of locking and unlocking, vehicle health reports, vehicle location tracking, and onboard Wi-Fi. These cars don’t have those features because they don’t have the built-in modems Ford uses for connectivity.

Developed in concert with Aptiv (formerly the automotive supplier Delphi automotive) and Verizon Connect, the SmartLink device itself enables 4G LTE connectivity, and plugs into a car’s OBD II port. These ports are standard on all cars sold in the U.S., and were designed to allow a car’s computer to interface with diagnostic equipment. A host of electronics companies, including Verizon, have developed so-called “dongles” to exploit that connection.

FordPass SmartLink launches later this year, priced starting at $17 a month for 24 months, plus installation, for both the device and the telematics services that enable smartphone-controlled key fob functions (such as locking and unlocking the car), vehicle location tracker, and vehicle health reports. Those reports may generate more business for Ford dealers, who will also likely install the devices, so they will probably love SmartLink.

The monthly fee also includes a complimentary Verizon 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot trial, with 1 gigabyte or 30 days of data (whichever comes first). Once the trial expires, users can continue to get in-car Wi-Fi by adding their SmartLink device to an existing Verizon data plan, or creating a new one. It’s the same procedure as getting data access in a car with a built-in modem.

For existing Ford customers who want more connectivity, FordPass SmartLink might be an attractive option. Others might not see the benefit of paying for something that makes it easier to harvest data from their vehicles, and nags them about oil changes. Ford may be the first large automaker to try something like this on a large scale, so it will be interesting to see how people react.


Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.

How to sync and troubleshoot your PS4's DualShock 4 controllers

Sony's Bluetooth-enabled DualShock 4 controllers for PlayStation 4 are some of the best on the market, but connection issues aren't unheard of. Here's how to sync them to your console.

Don't take your provider's word for it. Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.

Here's how you can control your PS4 right from your phone

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can get the most out of the system while on the go.

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?

FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD: How the wheels that turn change the way you drive

Let's face it, you've likely heard front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive mentioned before in some context or another. But what do these terms mean, especially in terms of performance? We’ve got the answers.

Shift it yourself: How to drive stick in a manual transmission car

Driving a manual transmission car might seem intimidating at first, but it's not as difficult as you might think. Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will serve you well. Here's everything you need to know to learn how to drive…

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.