Blog Post: Why we built the Link

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  • Updated 4 years ago
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When we founded Automatic, it wasn’t immediately obvious that we should build our own hardware. Adapters that plug into your car’s diagnostic port had been around for a long time, and we thought we might build an app that works with one of them.

We investigated the options and did thorough tear-downs of every OBD adapter we could find, but quickly realized that none were powerful, flexible, or secure enough to support the experiences we wanted to create for our users. Though it wouldn’t be easy, we decided to commit our small team to building our own hardware – with all the necessary R&D, design, and manufacturing costs that would entail. We needed a product that was worlds better than anything else out there.

To read more, check out our blog post here.
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Automatic Team, Official Rep

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Posted 4 years ago

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Robert Hancock

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All great BUT STILL NO real-time data despite it being on the roadmap for 18 months. My Link unit sits in the glove compartment not making any use of all these great design decisions until you implement RTD. Sad waste of your time and my money!
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Mark Gunn, Champion

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I agree real time data is a highly desirable next step, but I get plenty of value out of the trip logging already, so not a waste of money, and still plenty of upside potential when RTD comes in.
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Robert Hancock

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What worries me is that at almost 18 months out from early release, the Link hardware must be ripe for a V2 upgrade̦. Perhaps the real reason the roadmap has been stuck without RTD is because the V1 cannot handle it hardware wise? Any comment from the developers? In fact, the whole tenor of the "Why we built the Link" has an odd feeling that some unexpected news is coming—or am I reading more than was intended?
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Tom, Former Employee

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Hi Robert. We're experimenting with hardware updates, but at this time, there's no ETA for a new release. We wrote this blog post to give some insight as to why we chose to build a custom piece of hardware for our product, rather than using a cheaper, generic device. As detailed in the post, custom hardware has many advantages over generic OBD-II devices, and we thought our customers would be interested in learning more about the hardware creation process.

I'm sorry that our approach to feature development hasn't lived up to your expectations. Real time data wasn't actually part of our original feature lineup, and only after receiving customer feedback did we consider adding it to the app. We have never promised a firm release date on real time data (as priorities are constantly in flux), but we understand the demand for it.

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Robert Hancock

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I know you never "promised" RTD as an original feature, but right from the early days and after massive feedback asking for it, your main developer said it was on the roadmap.  Sadly, we never seem to get to that destination!
I'll make a small bet to incentivize you—if it ever gets released for the V1 hardware, I'll donate $50 to a charity of your choice.

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