Verizon Vehicle: a network connection for any car, even yours

Today at the North American International Auto Show, Verizon announced Verizon Vehicle, a way to bring connected features to any car on the road. A lot of cars sold now have LTE or other connections built-in, but what about the millions that don't? The new subscription service includes a device that plugs into a car's OBD-II port to scan for any potential issues (even before you notice a problem), track the vehicle via GPS and communicates with the driver via its app or a Bluetooth speaker that clips onto your visor. A specific list of features is available after the break plus a picture of the setup, and we'll be asking execs detailed questions like "so how much does it cost?" a little later.

It sounds a lot like what Chevrolet is doing with OnStar, but you can get it on any car. You can talk to a support rep or request a tow-truck just by voice, and it's already tagged to your car and location. The same goes for communicating with a mechanic and even getting a quote, all without even getting out of the car. There's no hotspot or anything that gets your other devices online, and there's no word on what kind of bandwidth the connection has either.

Update: We spoke with president Erik Goldman and narrowed down some of the details about the new service. It's expected to launch nationally in Q2, and while the hardware itself is free there is a $15 per month service fee. It's basically a phone that plugs into your car, so when you use the intercom to call for help, it's really making a phone call. The price point isn't all that separates it from a solution like Delphi Connect, since according to Goldman, this is like the system Verizon powers for Mercedes-Benz -- but available to everyone. With its ability to warn of an issue before it becomes critical or call for help (and send your exact location), this is a bit better than most roadside assistance packages, but that monthly fee could quickly add up.

Summary of Features
The subscription-based service will include: