Automatic went for a more expensive, but more full-featured offering with the 3G-enabled Automatic Pro earlier this year, but the new Automatic Lite delivers a more affordable connected car device with Bluetooth connectivity, at a lower price point than any previous hardware they’ve released.
The new Automatic Lite is $79.95, and will sell at Best Buy, Amazon and Automatic’s own site. The Lite carries no subscription, unlike the Automatic Pro which offers no subscription for connectivity for five years included in the $129.95 purchase price, but makes no specific promises after that. Lite connects to your phone and the new Automatic driving app via Bluetooth, and uses your device’s data connection to communicate with other apps and services.
The Automatic Lite sounds very similar to the original Automatic in terms of what kinds of fear it offers, connecting to your car’s OBD-II port and providing information about engine lights, should any appear on your dash, helping you locate mechanics, tracking trips for easy expensing and locating filling stations and tracking gas costs, too. The new hardware also supports Automatic’s expanding app ecosystem, which includes a number of third-party software optimized to use the data gathered from your car.
Automatic clearly wants to cover the spread here with a range that targets both price-sensitive and convenience-seeking customers. The gap of $50 still seems a little narrow to me, but they are obviously looking to optimize the pricing on the low-end. Cost of entry for this kind of aftermarket add-on is a key sticking point, since many drivers probably aren’t feeling that anything’s necessarily “missing” without these features, so any price savings is likely to attract a fair number of new potential users.