There are more 250 million cars on the American roads today, and the majority of them are older vehicles that don’t have sophisticated electronics that allow for integration with smartphones, maps, and music. Garmin and Navdy have both released tables aimed at this market, and now Rand McNally has debuted its version of the dashboard tablet at the Chicago Auto Show.
OverDryve attaches to the car’s dashboard with a magnetic mount. It will take over the car’s audio system by connecting to the head unit with a cable or an FM radio signal. Although that sounds like a warning sign for those of us who have had mixed results with auxiliary cables and radio signals, Rand McNally says the connection is more stable than what many consumers have experienced in the past. The tablet also has a built-in speaker in the event that the cable or FM signal fail.
OverDryve brings new entertainment options for older cars, including the ability to stream music, podcast and Internet radio services such as Pandora, Spotify or LastFM. The tablet can connect to the Internet by using a bluetooth-connected smartphone as a hot spot. For those who prefer not to use their smartphone’s hot spot capabilities, the tablet will connect to the Internet through a subscription-based access dongle.
For drivers who have wanted the ability to multitask without upgrading to the latest technology, OverDryve has a hands-free “smart assistant” mode that makes and receives telephone calls and text messages. It has a built-in commercial-grade GPS receiver for navigation purposes, with some great features like advanced warning of turns and highway exits ahead, Rand McNally maps, and trip services. The trip planning service gives you the ability to plan trips that incorporate your desired route and anything interesting along the way. The trip planner also includes to-the-minute traffic reports, gas prices, weather reports and news.
One of OverDryve’s most impressive features is a forward-facing video camera that gives the car collision-warning capability and a dashboard camera, similar to the features offered by newer vehicles. Rand McNally is also offering a set of specially designed tire-stem caps that enable OverDryve to act as a wireless tire pressure (and tire temperature) monitor. With a cable connection to the vehicle’s OBD port, drivers can receive real-time vehicle performance data with customizable gauge clusters. If you have a high performance vehicle, you will enjoy the built-in accelerometer, which shows the lateral g-forces.
OverDryve can easily be removed from its mount to ensure it isn’t stolen. It can also be used away from the car in all the ways you would use a conventional tablet, to send and receive email, access social media, surf the internet and watch movies.
Rand McNally has big plans for the future of OverDryve, including the launch of an OnStar-like system that gives roadside assistance and automatic accident notification. An eventual side-mounted camera will give OverDryve the ability to check the blind-spot for added safety.
OverDryve retails for $399.99 and will be available by June.