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While many new cars come standard with all the technology trimmings, including screens, sensors, and cameras, drivers of older automobiles have to retrofit their vehicles with add-ons and extensions to bring them into the digital “always-on” world.

Logitech is the latest company to chase that latter market with the launch of the Logi ZeroTouch, a smart car mount and accompanying app that brings hands-free functionality to your old beater. While there are other devices and apps on the market that already enable hands-free interaction with your phone, what Logitech is striving for here is to create a contraption that is affordable, easy to use, and works anywhere.

The $60 air vent-mounted ZeroTouch and its $80 dashboard counterpart trigger the Logitech voice-controlled app (available only for Android in the U.S.) the second you attach your phone to the mount.

Logi ZeroTouch

Above: Logi ZeroTouch

The phone attaches to the ZeroTouch magnetically, meaning you have to affix a little metal strip to the back of your phone (included as part of the package).

ZeroTouch: Attaches, as if my magnet

Above: ZeroTouch attaches magnetically

With your phone attached to the ZeroTouch, you can listen to messages and operate apps, including SMS, “writing” and sending using your voice. You can also control music-streaming apps such as Spotify, Google Maps, and Waze, receive directions to your destination, and share your current location with friends through Glympse. The ZeroTouch basically replicates key features of Android Auto or Apple’s very own CarPlay, except this device costs a mere 60 bucks and can be fitted to any vehicle.

“New car owners can experience the luxury of a connected car, but there are still tens of millions of older cars on the road,” said Bracken Darrell, Logitech president and CEO, in a press release. “As we look for ways to design products that are thoughtful solutions to human needs, we realized there was an opportunity to turn any car into a connected car.”

Founded in 1981, Logitech is a brand synonymous with PC peripherals and accessories, but the Swiss company has been pushing out into a growing number of categories. In July last year, it announced a new sub brand that will be attached to these new products, with “Logi” finding its way onto iPad accessories and a life-logging, home-monitoring camera. By betting on bold design underpinned by a new brand, Logitech hopes to ditch its ‘mice and keyboards’ legacy.

In an interview with VentureBeat last year, Darrell revealed that the company was working on “six or seven” new product lines. When probed as to whether the company would consider entering the automobile realm, he gave a coy “no comment,” though he later elaborated, saying that he saw opportunities everywhere, “including the car.” Now we know what opportunities he was referring to — accessories to help you go hands-free and keep your eyes on the road.

The ZeroTouch Air Vent and ZeroTouch Dashboard are available to order through Amazon or Logitech today. Meanwhile, check out the official demo video below.


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