Ford device lets older cars connect to smartphones, become Wi-Fi hotspots

Ford is expanding wireless connectivity features for owners of older model vehicles through a new 4G LTE-enabled OBD II plug-in device.

Ford SmartLink is aimed at customers who own 2010 through 2016 model year Ford and Lincoln vehicles that lack a modem. It will provide access to smartphone-based remote start, lock and unlock services; a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot capable of serving up to eight devices; vehicle health and security alerts; and vehicle location assistance.

"Ford SmartLink will surprise and delight owners of recent model-year vehicles by adding some of today's most popular connectivity features" Ford's executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service, Stephen Odell, said.

Customers can obtain SmartLink, which also has a companion App and Web Portal used to activate wireless features, at Ford and Lincoln dealerships starting this summer.

Ford collaborated with Delphi Automotive and Verizon Wireless in developing the new dongle, which took two years to design, test and build.

"From security to performance, we've conducted extensive testing and made a number of improvements to ensure Ford SmartLink enhances the customer experience for our owners," Raj Nair, executive vice president of Ford's chief technical officer, said in a statement.

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