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Startup Mojio Brings App Store, Connectivity to Older Cars

It is one of a growing number of companies making use of a little-known diagnostic port included on most cars made since 1996.


Startup Mojio is announcing that it is adding a full-fledged App Store to its offering, which brings cellular connectivity to previously disconnected cars.

Mojio is one of a growing number of companies adding functions to existing cars by tapping into a little-known port that has been included in most new cars sold in the U.S. since 1996. Originally created to allow technicians to better diagnose issues with a car, the OBD-II port is now being called on to offer a wide range of services.

The app store is starting with just a handful of programs. They all tap Mojio’s $149 dongle, which uses AT&T’s 3G cellular network for connectivity and plugs into the aforementioned port. That price includes the first year of cellular service, with additional service billed at $4.99 per month. Mojio’s app store is offering many of the kinds of services rivals offer, including stolen-vehicle tracking, usage-based insurance and diagnostic information.

“We know that drivers want their cars to be more like their smartphones,” Mojio CEO Jay Giraud said in a statement. “There are at least as many connected car use cases as there are app developers, and so an open platform for building apps is essential to giving people what they want.”

Among the companies focused in this area are Automatic and pay-per-mile insurance company Metromile.

Verizon is also tapping the port for a $15-per-month service announced earlier this year that similarly hopes to bring some benefits of a connected car to older models.

The connected car and the impact of mobile technology on the automotive industry are going to be key topics at our upcoming Code/Mobile conference, which takes place Oct. 7-8 in Half Moon Bay, Calif. For more information — and to register for the conference — visit the Code/Mobile website.

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