Well hello there friends and neighbors. We are days away from the crazy time of year that is CES. A gathering of tech companies and geeks from around the world in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Your staff from Life On My Mobile will be on hand to check out all the latest and greatest in the tech world, and we will pass that information on to you. We may not be the first to get things posted, but it will get done. For quicker updates, please follow our Twitter account at @LifeOnMyMobile.
Have you ever wanted to get some of the cool new features of today’s connected cars, but just can’t afford the price tag for that vehicle? Well, now you just may be able to get those features added to your existing vehicle for a much smaller price tag. What are these cool features I’m referring to? Well they are: Remote Access, Vehicle Health and Diagnostics, GPS Tracking, Geo-fencing, and Vehicle Alerts to name a few.
Vehicle Diagnostics by Delphi, or VDD for short, is currently available to Verizon Wireless subscribers only. It is priced at $249.99 with month-to-month service of $5 per device with a shared data plan. When you think about what features VDD has to offer, the price tag is really pretty reasonable. I’m hopefully that other carriers will get in on this action and begin to offer VDD in the near future.
Delphi sent me a VDD unit to test for a few weeks and I must say that I am impressed. The device itself is very simple to install. Once you remove it from the packaging, you simply plug it in to the OBD (on-board diagnostics) port in your vehicle. Done. Device installed. Follow some simple instructions and have the device activated and you’ll be up and running.
Once properly installed and activated, you will now have access to several features of today’s connected cars. Not every car will be able to take advantage of every feature. I discovered that I was not able to use the KeyFob feature of VDD because both of my vehicle have Push-to-Start, and VDD is not compatible with that yet. They say updates are coming, and I’m hopeful that will be one of them. My only other issue with VDD is location. Each vehicles OBD port will probably be located in a different area. For my 2013 Ford Escape, I had to remove a panel from the lower part of the dash to get to the OBD. Once I plugged in the VDD the panel would not go back on, and it just looked odd. It would be nice if Delphi included some kind of extension cable for the OBD port that would allow you to connect with minimal obstruction and move the VDD out of the way.
Now on to the testing… A few of the options you can do with VDD are set up alerts, such as speed alerts and geo-fence alerts. I started with speed alerts and had it set at 80mph. I quickly discovered a problem here, and it had nothing to do with VDD, and everything to do with my daily commute. I routinely drive a toll road that has a speed limit of 80mph. I was setting off speed alerts left and right. It does work as advertised, but I had to change that alert to save my email box from being flooded with messages.
The geo-fence settings allow you to pick a starting location, and then set a radius from that point as the “fence” area. I created my geo-fence to be 15 miles from my house, and just like the speed alerts, every time I crossed that boundary I would get an alert sent to my inbox.
VDD also allows you to monitor your vehicle health and get a history of your recent driving trips. If you happen to have any warning lights come up on the dash, you can refer to VDD for a reading of that code before you go to see your mechanic.
There are so many other things I found useful while using VDD, but I just don’t have time to keep rambling on about them. If you are a Verizon subscriber, I’d suggest going by your local Verizon store and checking this out in person. If you want to see a quick demo of the web control, click on this link.
Overall, I was very impressed. I think VDD is a great device for any parent with teenage drivers, or maybe even business owners needing to keep an eye on their fleet of vehicles. The price point is low, and the number of good uses is high. Sounds like a win-win to me. Go check it out!
UPDATE: Delphi contacted me and pointed out that there is an extension cable available for VDD, and that it just was not included in my demo unit. This is good news and makes me like the product even more! Now if it was just on AT&T…
It’s almost that time of the year when all tech geeks travel to Las Vegas and get lost in a sea of technology and people for several days.
CES 2015 officially starts on January 6, 2015 and your team from Life On My Mobile will be on-site to cover all the new technology as it is unveiled. If you want to keep up with what’s happening at CES, make sure you follow @LifeOnMyMobile on Twitter.
Those customers on Verizon Wireless who have been sucking discounts from their former employee discount on their personal account will soon be contacted by Verizon to verify employment. Verizon is cracking down on customers that don’t qualify for Verizon’s discount. Verizon is so serious about the issue that their employees are going to start training on this audit starting March 18th.
Verizon offers certain employers discounts of up to 25% off on its mobile phone service and up to 25% off of accessories.
Starting the first of April, customers who receive an employee discount will be contacted by Verizon via email, SMS message or good old fashion letter asking them to prove their employment with the company that is listed on their account. If you have changed jobs and your new employer qualifies for a Verizon discount you can update your account.
Upon being contacted, you will have 60 days to verify the information on your account before Verizon automatically takes away your discount. You will have three ways to verify your employment. You can head to Verizon’s renewal website and confirm via your business email address, call Verizon customer service and speak to a rep to verify your information or you can send an email with proof to Verizon.
New Yorkers in the mid-town Manhattan on Verizon Wireless network will soon be able to enjoy wireless voice and data service underground as Verizon Wireless has entered into an agreement with Transit Wireless, providing state-of-art wireless networks in the New York City subway system.
Verizon plans to install their equipment over the next several weeks, once installed Verizon customers can expect to receive service in 36 stations.
“We are extremely pleased to gain Verizon’s participation in our wireless network in the New York City subway system, facilitating high quality voice and data services in the underground,” said William A. Bayne Jr., CEO of Transit Wireless. “We have now secured partnerships with all four major wireless carriers to bring the vast majority of New Yorkers, visitors, government agency personnel, transit employees, contractors and first responders the ability to be connected in the stations we have constructed.”
Verizon Wireless has announced that consumers will no longer have to worry about purchasing a smartphone or tablet on Big Red’s network for full cost anymore, sort of. Consumers will now be able to activate service and pay for their smartphone or tablet in monthly payments.
Like everything in the wireless industry there is a lot of fine print. Here is an overview of what is required.
Full retail priced smartphone or tablet price must be a minimum of $349.99.
Pay for the full retail priced smartphone or tablet in 12 payments.
Finance charge of $24, which is $2 per month.
Device Payment Plan customers can take advantage of Share Everything pricing and data sharing.
First payment, including $2 finance charge, due at time of purchase. Your next payment will appear on your next Verizon Wireless bill.
Maximum of two open Installment Plans per customer.
$1000 combined Installment Plan balance limit per customer
To find out more check with your local Verizon Wireless store. This program can be very beneficial to someone wanting a new phone but not qualified for an upgrade.
Verizon has announced that the company will be offering the LG Lucid 2 starting April 14th. The Lucid 2 is being offered for free with a two-year contract.
The Lucid 2 was designed to attract first time smartphone users and comes equipped with a 4.3 inch qHD IPS display, 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Krait processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage, 5 megapixel rear camera, a 2,460 mAh battery and powered by Google’s Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean).
Verizon is set to accept BlackBerry Z10 pre-orders starting tomorrow March 14th at 8:00 AM Eastern Time. The BlackBerry Z10 will come in white or black and will be available online or in Verizon Wireless stores starting March 28th.
Priced the same as AT&T, the BlackBerry handset will be $199.99 with a new two-year agreement. You can follow this link to get your pre-order in.