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November 2013

What we drive, and what drives us


“So, what car do you drive?”

It was about two hours into a three hour meeting when we got the question.  A perfectly reasonable question from an affable and thoughtful executive in the midst of a strategy discussion about the car business.  But it distinctly changed the tone of the discussion as we switched gears and spent the next 15 minutes trading specs and anecdotes about our rides.  It was a good reminder of what drives passion at the heart of what we do.  We are car guys and gals.  In that spirit, here’s a round-up of some of the Zubie crew’s favorite rides…

Mike Rude, 1999 VW Passat

“Last winter, I decided to take my teen son out for a drive in the car that will soon become his own…on the frozen Lake Minnetonka which is a winter playground of ice fishing, ice boating, kite snowboarding, etc.  This was a perfect opportunity for my son to learn about anti-lock brakes, oversteer, counter-steering and other winter car safety topics.   And also a  great opportunity to put the Zubie Key through some winter “proving ground” testing.   It made for a very interesting looking trip log.

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Tim, 1969 VW Bug

“I had a 1969 VW Bug in college.  After a night of college fun, a couple of buddies and I went  off-roading.  We got stuck in mud in a clearing in the woods, left it and walked home.  It rained all night and when we returned, the mud had turned into a lake and the bug was covered half way up the doors.  So After it drained we claimed the Bug and after drying it up it actually started.  Fun night.”

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Navin, 2002 Audi TT Roadster, chipped to 250 HP (!)

“When the original (classic) model came out,  it looked like nothing else on the road and I fell hard.  I couldn’t actually drive stick but I bought it anyway and essentially ground gears all the way home.  My tendency to leave the top down during torrential downpours and then have to drive home with four inches of sloshing water in the footwells, became a running joke with my coworkers, and required the seats to be replaced…twice.  It’s been a great test vehicle for Zubie given its frequent catalytic convertor issues.  But eleven years and 80K miles later,  I can’t imagine life without a red convertible.” 

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Mark, 2013 Ford Mustang GT – Vaughn Gitten Edition

” Tim approached me about joining him at this cool new connected-car startup.  The same week I bought the “green beast” as an homage  to the startup’s bright, black and  green logo and to show my unwavering commitment to the company.  Next week, we rebranded to a different name and logo.  Nice.  But the green beast still endures, exciting little kids and tourists on the island.” 

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That’s it for now.   More on the rest of the team in a later post, the stories are still coming in.


Connected Cars Will Drive $39 billion by 2018

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Zubie Connected Car

It wasn’t ten years ago that the ultimate in cell phone technology was a Nokia flip phone. Now that piece of hardware is a running gag like Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone. We’re at a similar crossroads with connected car technology. We’re on the verge of the entire business cresting like a tidal wave. read more

The Future of the Connected Car

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connected car expo 2013

Connected Car Expo 2013: The future starts now

It’s an exciting week for those of us who are at the forefront of automotive connectivity. The LA Auto Show’s Connected Car Expo starts today. Not ten years ago, the Consumer Electronics Show held every January in Las Vegas, and the LA Auto Show barely recognized each other. Now you see automakers invading CES, and tech titans like Google and Nokia with a powerful presence in LA.

It’s exciting for companies on the forefront of the connected car revolution, but it’s just as important for consumers, who are eager to see the latest developments in automotive connectivity; the features and functionality that will help them be safer, more efficient, more aware of their vehicle’s health, and more in tune with how the drivers around them are operating their vehicles.

Sharing the stage at the keynote address this morning are Ford Motor Company’s Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Jim Farley, and Google’s  Director or Google Maps for Business, Tarun Bhatnagar.

As of this morning, there was no official announcement of any strategic partnership or collaboration between Google and Ford, but the very idea that top executives are sharing the stage? It signals that we’re arriving at a new frontier between high-tech companies and automakers, and it’s exciting for all of us in the automotive and the tech industry.

Since the dawn of the automobile, car builders have shaped the industry. Now entrepreneurs are shaping its future: Big Data, autonomous vehicles, mapping, the Second Screen Entertainment experience. All of these advancements are coming from outside the automotive industry via small, entrepreneurial companies that can innovate quickly and help lead automakers in the right direction.

Here at Zubie, we’re riding the very crest of the wave, and we’re excited to see the collaboration between companies like ours, and some of the greatest brands in the world.


Zubie Android App and iOS Updates

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It’s finally here. Zubie version 1.2 is available in the app store and represents a major refresh of the experience as well as many new improvements. We think you’ll love it. Along with this update, we’re also thrilled to announce our Android app is now available in Google Play.

But first on our iOS update…

Since our launch in August, we’ve received lots of feedback and suggestions from our early adopters. While the Zubie Key and the core platform for data collection has been finely tuned, logging almost a million miles just in the past few months, we’re continuing to evolve the app experience based on your usage and feedback.  Hundreds of early adopters have not been shy about emailing, tweeting, texting and approaching us offline, with observations and ideas.

Our focus has been on providing a broad set of features that enable Zubie to continue to add value in daily driving, rather than a flashy toy that wanes after the first few days. And so our challenge is always to make an experience that is simple, inviting and exciting. Which is why we’re so excited about this update!

A flat new look 

While the last version already hinted at the iOS7 aesthetic, this update dives right in. A new color scheme, a lighter and brighter feel, elegant fonts and better use of high resolution fonts. Our creative director is a happy guy.

Email-Based Authentication

You can now signup using just your email address, without requiring a Facebook login, allowing users who are not on Facebook or chose not to link their account.

Ability to invite any contact

Support for email-logins also means that you can invite any contact from your phone book with an email address, to join your family or group for location sharing.

Diagnostics Details – Repair Estimate, Severity and Plan-english Translation

We now provide additional guidance on diagnostic codes that help you understand the severity and implications. A repair estimate provides a cost range that you should expect. The three-color severity indicator tells you if the problem is informational only, a problem that should be look at, or a potential danger to driving. Finally, on some codes,  we also provide a simpler, detailed plain-english interpretation of what the code really means.

Numerous improvements to multi-driver, multi-vehicle support

Integral support for multiple drivers and cars is an area we’ve always been proud and many of our users fall into this demographic. We’ve made numerous improvements and fixes related to driving scores applied  across cars, activation of Zubie keys and tracking when a Key is moved between cars. What was good is now notably better.

Alerts & Notification Rules

Every now and then, there’s almost unanimous support for a feature improvement. This was one. With this update, you have much more granular control over who and what triggers an alert. So if you know you have a lead-foot in the family, you can choose to turn off speeding alerts while retaining others. And most important, you can finally turn off place-alerts for your own car. We have to admit this one was a face-palm 🙂

Drumroll please…

And saving the best for last, we’d like to finally issue a big welcome to our Android friends.  Zubie for Android is now available on Google Play and has all of the same great features and experience as on iOS, including all of the new capabilities mentioned above.  Thank for for your very …umm… vocal insistence on wanting to be included.  We couldn’t agree more and we’re excited to see where we go on this platform in the future.

There’s plenty more, but well let you discover the finer details for yourself. Please update your app now and let us know what you think. We have an active discussion in our community on feature ideas. See you there!