Automatic Labs last month brought its drive-quantifying appliance Link to the aisles of the Apple Store, but on Monday it announced a retail distribution deal with Amazon.com that puts it in front of much broader audience.
The device, which plugs into the ODB-II port of any car built since 1996 and links to an iPhone through Bluetooth, will go on sale for $99.95 this week in the world’s largest retailer. Of course, Link has to compete for attention with a lot more products on Amazon’s portal than it does on Apple’s shelves. But Amazon’s reach can’t be underestimated, especially during the holiday rush when people are trying to consolidate their gift buying into as few shipments as possible.
Link is one of many of emerging devices and apps designed to monitor driving behavior and diagnose engine problems. Competitor Zubie already has a presence in Amazon’s marketplace and is backed by electronics mega-retailer Best Buy. While a bevy of new apps like ZenDrive are coming out that perform many of Automatic and Zubie’s functions without any specialized hardware, relying instead of the smartphone’s array of sensors.
Automatic, however, has gotten a lot of attention due to the sophistication in its design and its lack of recurring service fees. Automatic also plans to delve deeper into the data it’s collecting to launch more services, starting with an accident alert system it’s testing in beta.