V by Vodafone picks up where Vodafone Xone left off with a new range of GPS trackers.
A couple of years ago, I talked about Vodafone’s experimental Xone launchpad and at the end of last week, Vodafone sent me some of the latest generation of products that are ready to go mainstream.
One of my favourite Xone products was the Drivexone, a device that allowed me to track my vehicle and remotely monitor the engine management system, as well as keeping tabs on driving performance (speed, braking force etc). It’s been a valuable asset to my car, and was available for just a few pounds per month – even when travelling abroad.
Sadly, at the end of January 2018, this and other Vodafone xone services will end. Just like that.
It seems that these days products no longer stop working simply because they break. Today they stop working because they stop getting software updates, or the cloud based services they rely on shut down.
To be fair to Vodafone, Xone was always marketed as experimental (and all good things come to an end, right?) so hopefully the new ‘V by Vodafone’ kit will have a longer lifespan.
This is nevertheless something we need to be prepared for, just as people have gradually become used to the fact that all those digital purchases we’ve made over the years may not be available to us forever.
With no actual physical product, there’s nothing to sell or swap with others in the future, or to bung in the loft for your grand children to enjoy in years to come. Consider your purchases as things you’re effectively leasing than actually ever getting to own outright.
But, let’s get on to the products!
The replacement to Drivexone is now called V-Auto. It looks pretty much identical hardware wise, and still connects to your vehicle’s engine diagnostic port (working with most vehicles built after 2003). There is however a newer version of the app, with more functionality.
The upfront cost is now £80 with an ongoing subscription fee of £4 to pay for the embedded SIM to communicate with the cloud server you can then interrogate for real-time information.
Another product is a pet tracker called Kippy vita. I don’t currently have a pet so will probably have to try and be a little creative with my testing of this. That is unless Vodafone wants to send me an animal to hook up? (On second thoughts, I suspect the RSPCA might have a few words about that).
The final product is a ‘go anywhere’ tracker called Move Track, made by Alcatel. It can be placed in a handbag, suitcase or pretty much anything you like. Some people apparently buy trackers like this to keep tabs on an errant partner.
You could even chuck one of these in a vehicle for basic tracking if the extra features of the V-Auto aren’t needed, although it will need regular charging to remain usable.
Checking the user Xperia-ence
Vodafone also kindly supplied a Sony Xperia XZ1 to use with the above products, and I’ll be giving them a test over the next couple of weeks and let you know what I think.
Meanwhile, you can check out these products for yourself on the new dedicated V by Vodafone online store.
More info: V by Vodafone
- Disclosure: These products have been sent to me on a limited time loan. All thoughts and opinions are my own.