By Alexandra Burlacu | Dec 18, 2012 02:49 PM EST
INRETE has announced its new Automatica plug-and-play dongle, aiming to make it easier to listen to audio in cars, whether they are podcasts, playlists, or audiobooks.
The Automatica in-car USB dongle works with any vehicle that has USB support, and is designed to provide easy access to audio files by syncing audio from the user's Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and SkyDrive accounts. The smart USB dongle also enables users to access podcast feeds and more. The device can store 24 hours worth of audio content, or more with a micro SD card.
"This is not your father's cd player, it's your dropbox coming to life in your vehicle and always updating automatically," the company touts in its press release (via Engadget). "To use Automatica, the user will need to have a USB port in their vehicle. Automatica creates a local cache of your contents and stores 24 hours of audio within the internal flash memory. Dropbox, Google Drive, Box or Microsoft SkyDrive users will enjoy flawless updates straight to the USB device so the latest content will always be readily available."
The initial setup is designed to be fairly easy: users will be directed to the Automatica Web site, where they will be prompted to select which cloud services they prefer to store their audio content. As previously mentioned, the device also works with podcasts. Users will need to set up Wi-Fi, and they can connect the device to their home network, tether it to a smartphone for in-car connectivity, or connect it to open networks while traveling.
"This plug and play device allows for users that have a USB port in their vehicle to enjoy instant audio content - without any further modifications to the vehicle," said ONRETE President Giorgio Bernardi. "Our goal is to simplify this process by making it easy to use, yet make it personal for each user with our online interface."
The smart USB dongle automatically syncs content from the cloud services and podcasts selected during setup whenever the USB drive is in range of a wireless network. This means the gadget never requires users to plug it into a computer or manually set it up in any way. Whenever a new podcast is released, for instance, Automatica will grab it over the air and have it ready to listen.
Automatica is now available for pre-order for $99, and it comes with a two-year subscription to the service. Over this two-year period, users are entitled to the replacement of any defective or broken devices, no questions asked. Customers will, however, have to pay for any return and replacement shipping charges.