"Connected cars" are all well and good, but you need a pricey new model or a mobile hotspot to see the benefit. Samsung thinks it has a solution for everyone with an older car: a gadget that plugs into a standard On-Board Diagnostic port (OBD) and rebroadcasts mobile Internet on local Wi-Fi. It's a simple idea, but one that's easy and unobtrusive. The company calls it the Samsung Connect Auto.

The Connect Auto was announced in Samsung's home country of South Korea, though the timing coincides with Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. There's no date or price for the gadget, but Samsung has already announced its first network partner: AT&T. Since AT&T already offers subscriptions for mobile Wi-Fi connections in new car models, it's a natural fit. There's no mention of a rollout schedule for Connect Auto on AT&T, though the announcement post says that it will be "affordable." Customers will probably be able to add the device to a shared data plan.

The announcement says that the Connect Auto uses Tizen OS as a "backbone," so presumably the gadget is running Samsung's semi-proprietary OS as an integrated manager. Developers will be able to use the Tizen SDK to "further evolve additional services." A Find My Car app is mentioned as an example of a useful add-on, and the system will use Samsung's KNOX encryption system for security.