Unlock, Lock & Start Your Car from Your BlackBerry with Viper SmartStart

By Adam Zeis on 11 Jan 2010 09:42 am EST

Viper SmartStart

I've always been a big fan of the remote starter I had installed in my car a few years ago. Being able to start it up from my living room in the heart of winter is a great thing. When I saw the rumors on Viper SmartStart, I was excited to say the least. The app allows users to take their technology geekness to the ultimate level, allowing you to lock & unlock doors, pop the trunk, sound the alarm and start the vehicle all from a simple interface. The app will be free in BlackBerry App World, but the hardware for your car will set you back anywhere from around $300 to over $600, and after the first year the service will run you another $30/year. Some systems are already compatible with SmartStart, so you'll just need to get Viper's upgrade module (which will still cost you more than it should). As much as I'd love to rush out and get one of these hooked up, I think the price is a bit out of my range for the time being. I don't really see this being totally mainstream. While we'd all love to start out cars with a click of the BlackBerry, it just isn't likely that many will shell out the cash for system like this. Drop a comment and let us know what you think.

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Unlock, Lock & Start Your Car from Your BlackBerry with Viper SmartStart


Wow! File this one under "Apps for the rich and famous". It didn't cost me anything extra to stream music via Bluetooth to the existing "SYNC" system in my Ford Edge but $300 - $600 to unlock the doors with my Storm 1!?! Come on developers jump on this one and give is an app we can afford!

You're paying for the device. No developer can create a device to work with an existing car starter or supply a whole car starter that works with their application for free. $300-$600 is for the module. Then it's $30/yr for the subscription which isn't actually too bad!

I dont think the price is outrageous, its the yearly subscription that makes me scratch my head. Regular remote start packages don't have a yearly subscription, why should I pay one for this? Eventually the other players in this market will develop an app for BB, iPhone and Android-without the subscription, and I will be on board.

Viper owns the next leading brand which is Clifford, so i doubt a non competitor will create something worthwhile. Also if you have ever looked at them, you will notice they are all the exact same remote start systems. The thing is that Viper is the Apple Computers of car starters and alarms

As a mobile electronics installer AND a crackberry user, I must say that I will be getting one of these soon!!

you know thats a mighty sexy looking phone haha
especially with the word viper beside it! haha

I only wish my car would be so lucky :)

Cool idea, ridiculous price! $300 would be "fair" but thats just for the module! its like $499 for the whole system... thats just waaay to much money.

You know, besides the ease of this, the fact that I tend to lock my keys in the car, and have to call AAA to come out and open it, this definetly has its upside (except AAA costs me about $30 a year at the moment, and I don't have to spend $300 or more to get anything installed, lol)

It would be perfect if it could alert you when a alarm went off, and for cars with multiple sensors, which sensor was tripped. Or maybe when your blackberry is within range of the car, you can set automatic settings like unlock and so forth.

Without this I don't see the need for a program that does what the key fob does at this price.

I emailed Viper about this. This is basically what a 2 way remote does. By the website, you should get this info on your phone, but I am waiting for email confirmation.

I am very interested in this system for my next vehicle. Also works out because I haven't purchased any security unit yet, so I would just buy the whole package for $499, which isn't a bad deal.

However, the $299 module is a RIP!


Notice a page on the phone showing an alert saying the alarm went off. Also, the video on the website says range is no issue, as long as the phone and car are in a service range (cell service?) it will work.

Any idea when it will be available for Blackberry devices? I will be the first in line to get it when it arrives. $300 for an added module?..Who cares!!...I found myself spending money on more stupid things...It's only money guys, now lets spend it!!

It would be perfect if it could alert you when a alarm went off, and for cars with multiple sensors, which sensor was tripped. Or maybe when your blackberry is within range of the car, you can set automatic settings like unlock and so forth.

Without this I don't see the need for a program that does what the key fob does at this price.

The 'unit' is two hardware parts.

Part A is the bit that locks & unlocks doors, pops the trunk, sounds the alarm and starts the vehicle. A lot of vehicles already have this part; it typically works with a keyfob.

Part B is essentially a pager (or cellphone) & an interface to Part A. This is how you send commands to the car remotely. This is also why there is an annual fee, 'cause theres a carrier fee.

This isn't a breakthrough product, except for the BlackBerriness of it.

Most you just use use codes - send your password & a code to start car, another to have the engine cycle 10 minutes every two hours to keep warm, a third to have it flash it's lights so you can find it in the lot, or honk it's horn every 30 seconds, etc. It looks like Viper has put a nicer interface on all of this (lots of folks just use speed-dial.)

For those whinging why doesn't someone else make a cheaper app sure, I'll sell you one that'll magically control random devices. Send cash to online-posters@too-stupid-to-have-money.com.

BTW, my ex works north of Montreal at a place with a huge parking lot, far from the buildings. A number of the employees particularly on 3rd shift, have phone or pager-based remotes to warm their cars up before they make the sometimes -40 (f or c, same thing) trek out to them at the end of their workday.

I already have the smartstart system on my car and used it with my old iphone, I should just be able to download the new app when it comes out and everything should be fine right?

For that price?! With a subscription on top of it? Nah. Doesn't do enough for me to invest that kind of money it. Those who buy it, enjoy!

I see that just like space program and weapons program research often trickles down into the consumer space (mmm, Tang!), the same thing is now happening with the burgeoning guerrilla/terror hardware market: Cell phone-based remote triggering systems now being given a generally marketable application.

i'm lazy (so lazy, i don't even capitalize my letters) and the last thing i need is to pay money for the previlage of reaching in to my pocket, unlock my screen, scroll to the app, and click a button then put the phone away. why do that when i'm aleady reaching for the keys to put in the ignition anyway. since i already have my keys in my hands, the keyfob would naturally, be in my hands already and all i have to do is unlock the door by pressing one button. of course, i don't have remote start, but it works the same way, keyfob + keys are already in one place.

the thing i don't get is why the hell would i have to pay 30 bucks a year for this thing? i already shelled out money to start off with but i have to pay $30 a year for the privelage of fondling my phone before driving off?

no thanks.

I'm lazy too. I've been using my Storm to turn off the overhead lights and the Christmas tree lights in my living room when I want to watch a movie.

Why would you want to pay a monthly subscription for this? A decent car starter can be had for $120 installed. Why pay 3-600$ then $30 a month for the service which doesnt even include the actual remote starter? Stupid

For that price?! With a subscription on top of it? Nah. Doesn't do enough for me to invest that kind of money it. Those who buy it, enjoy!

This is an App for a car alarm I had on my old car. It's about $350 for the alarm system $400+ installed if you don't do it yourself. It has just about every bell and whistle you
would ever need, remote start is just one thing. You can get just the remote start added to your car without the alarms stuff for less than $200.

The specific model I had had about a two mile range, which was convenient since at the job I had at the time I sometimes had to park up to a mile away from my car. I'm assuming the app tells you of any alerts like the alarm going off and whatnot as there is an "alerts" option on the picture above.

The alarm comes with it's own FOB that essentially does everything your stock one does + controls the alarms module. So the stock FOB would only be useful if you locked the one that came with the alarm in the car or lost it or something. This app would essentially make that redundant as well.

There was no service charge for the alarm like someone above posted once you bought it it was yours. The app service charge works out to $2.50 a month which isn't terrible considering all it does.

I already have viper 5901 and work nights at ups so this would be great since my 1 mile range has issues with all the buildings in the way that take it out of range.

most places won't install on stick shifts a guy I know told them to anyways and his car ended up in a pond. If you're in the habit of leaving it in N when parked though you should be ok.

My car is a five speed, and I already had to shell out nearly $500 to get someone to install a remote start (on the seventh try, the first six places I called just laughed). I doubt that the system is available for manual transmissions, and if it is would probably cost quite a bit more.

thats not true at all. If they tell you it costs more they are lying.

Most places wont install a remote start on manual cars b.c if you start it while its in gear it could hurt someone or your car and they can be sued. However, if you know the right people they can do it. Its the SAME install as a regular car except you have to bypass the clutch (Which you should do anyway to save your thrust bearings). Just dont leave your car in gear. There is no need to. Most parking brakes these days can hold the car very well. Just tighten up your parking brake and youi'll be fine.

FYI i have a clifford remote start/alarm system for 2 1/2 years. Never had a problem. And i park on a hill.

Oh and i would love to get this. $500 is not bad. THink about it this way. A good top of the line alarm system/remote start costs anywhere from 300-500. Plus the remotes the come with are very flimsy. Ive broken 3 remotes in 2 1/2 years. Each remote is $100. You do the math.

However, only problem i see is that i switch phones (OS's) a lot. If they come out for android too then i def will get this. Then i can switch between iphone/apple/android

As cool as this is, the recent line up of Viper products is sub par, they work great, if you can get them to work, i have a few friends who are professional installers, and refuse to sell vipers new line, as 9 times out of 10 there stuff is overpriced, and simply does not work on certian vehicles. I recommend compustar for your remote start needs, the blade series stuff is great!

How cool is this? Someone loses or gets their Blackberry stolen, then they get to wait for their car to get jacked.

And they get to pay a ridiculous price to boot. WOW!

I have searched Viper's site and cannot find a way to contact them, it only makes you search for a local installer.

I want to ask a question about Viper SmartStart for my Chrysler 300 but want someone who knows rather than an installer.

Anyone know how to contact Viper? My factory remote start for my Chrysler 300 was a tough purchase because of the non traditional key and only a key fob so I wanted to know if this Viper package is available for my 300?

It does seem a bit on the expensive side but on my last vehicle I had the 2-way transmitter and it made it fantastic if in the store or movie theater but was not able to get a 3rd party one for my 300 so this Viper SmartStart and use of my Bold would be great!!!!

Thanks for any input

my friend has a chrysler 300M as well. Most of the Viper systems will work on your car. All you need is a Bypass Module to bypass the immobilizer chip on your key. So, a basic Viper system starts at around $300, then you need the bypass module which is about $75-100 (which is supplied by any alarm system installation shop) and then installation. What Viper doesn't tell you is that you also have to buy the Viper/iphone-blackberry hardware to make this app link your phone to the car. The hardware itself is supposedly $250.

Pretty much you will be spending over $600 installed. I already have the Viper system installed on my 2008 Subaru Legacy GT (which ran me about $500 installed), but I still need to add the $250 hardware to make the system work from my Tour.

Where this would be sweet is in cases like me where my remote started doesnt have range to work from inside the building where I work. Since this doesnt rely on actual radio signals being able to reach the unit, I could start my car from my desk, inside the mall, basically where ever I was. Would be really useful IMO

Interesting app... But you go to their website and they only have it for iPhone... If they have a BB version, they really should update their website to let people know...

This technology has been out in Japan for quite sometime now. It's good to see that we are finally catching up!

Now we need this app for astrostart. This would be ideal for long range like going to the mall in this cold area.

the new cars are coming with push start technology. which means you don't need the key in hand to unlock the doors etc. My moms 08 Altima you press a black button on the door handle that unlocks the car. the key pod is in her purse. My step dads 09 Rav 4, the car senses his hand approaching the door and automatically unlocks that door.

thats dumb, you can just by a remote start if you're that lazy. why mess around with your phone.

they must be crazy thinking someone will pay that kind of money for this plus the recurring fee.

what a waste of crackberry space.

This is astonishing! Of a group of people as a whole, I cannot believe the number of people that don't think this is just cool. You're out with a buddy, "Honey I forgot XXXX in your car. Where is the spare key?" "Ill unlock it, let me know when your done" Car is somewhere you aren't and your headed to pick it up. Now it's warmed up and ready to go. This is not a $600 dollar phone application. It is a $300 dollar add-on device to a remote start. If you don't have or need a remote start, this application doesn't apply to you so harsh critisim is from a biased source. The price is not unreasonable at all ESPECIALLY the subscription. $30 bucks a year is too much?!?! I expected 10-15 per month concidering it has an ESN, it is a 2-way communication device. And the cost of the device isn't bad. A 2 way remote averages $129. And those wondering about specific vehicles, find a GOOD shop and they can do most cars including 5-speeds in a SAFE manner. You can't reasonably start my car in gear. You would have to TRY to make it start in gear.

im trying to figure who this product is marketed to on the lower end $30000 and under its kinda expensive on the $50000 and up it dont make sense i paid extra for the factory package key fobs that i dont have to touch to start my car so it leaves me confused

I would love to have this App...very cool..and yes..Bond like. I was already looking into getting remote start added to my car, but this is the cherry on top.

Then you can simply use the transmitter the remote start comes with. As stated, this is simply an add on device.

Where We'd probably all like to be James Bond, or be able to afford enough Cars, to fit with, "Smart Start", (Which would probably cost less than $600 a Piece, (for the Cars,),) for an elaborate practical joke, involving a whole Road, of parked Cars, with Alarms to activate, as some unsuspecting... Victim walks past...

-I can't help but wonder: What happens if You should suddenly drop, and/or mislay Your Blackberry?
What if it gets stolen?
What if the Battery runs out?

Would You have to carry a seperate Key with You, in case that happened?

What if People find a way, to use, "Sure Start", to hack into Your Car?

If So, is the novelty, (and fun,) really worth that much?
(-Considering the Irony, at Your expense, should any of those things happen?).

I love the concept, and the Idea.
It's, "Mad Genius", but unfortunately for Me, "Finances", is the Barrier, that prevents Me, from being Eccentric enough.
(IE. I don't have enough Money.).

i looked in app world and couldn't find it.. and viper's site still says iphone/ipod only... what gives??

is it really available for us BB users or not? Also, anybody know how this would work with cars that require the brake pedal to be depressed before starting? Some examples are porsche cayenne, audi q5. they're automatic transmission, but you have to push the brake pedal first - would this go around that requirement?

The app is not available yet. Word is in the next month, so concidering the mobile elctronics world figure 2. Unfortunately, the cayenne, q5, toureag platform is on the DO NOT ATTEMPT list from remote start manufacturers. Im not sure what it is about their databus ignition system but it is pretty uncrackable.

In doing research on Vipers website, and on the web in general, this is only avail to iphone or itouch subscribers with AT&T service......got my hopes up....

it AMAZES me that people are talking about how this is "too expensive" when EVERYDAY people talk about buying their BBs at full retail which is what, $300-$600?? haha

anyway as soon as this is available to the BB world, and as long as i can use it on Sprint, i will be adding this to my Viper 5701 system :)

Well, first of all I do have a Viper system on my vehicle and love it! Without the BlackBerry app I can start my vehicle up to a mile away, yes...up to a mile away! Try that with your cheap remote starts that might not be able to start your vehicle because there's a few obstacles in the way (other vehicles, buildings, walls, too far away). Now, the only drawback is there are times, due to distance or obstacles (inside buildings, etc.) that I am unable to start my vehicle using my remote start. Now, enter the BlackBerry app where for as long as you have a cell phone signal, you can start your vehicle! You can be on the other side of the United States on an extended vacation and be alerted if your vehicle is being tampered with, or you can start your vehicle once in a while to keep it fresh. Try that with your cheap remotes. So, the extra cost has it's value....

Oh boy I cant wait for the app. It suppose to come out on March 2nd. I have the system installed in my car already.
Patience is a virtue.

My blackberry was locked for AT&T, damn I hate their services!!! Crap!!!
Tried to do million steps, through MML 1.8, 2, all I had was wasting my NERVES. And at the end I decided to by my code.
Here what I did, my own steps and how I dissapointed and finally found what I was looking for:
After I tried everything by myself and tired, I started to Google unlock websites. I found one, that says like "Unlock your phone in 10 min just for 10$"
WOW that's amazing! And what? They grab my 10$ and didn't even send me the notice that they did it!!! After that I used AT&T for month more, because I was dissapointed in everyone else. Then one of my collegues (that own Blackberry too) gave me the link, I decided to try once again, but was a bit scared to lose my money again. I went there and paid them around 30$ to get my unlock code. And mirracle they sent me the code with the instruction how to unlock it!!! Now I'm the owner of the Unlocked BLackberry Phone, and don't have to pay for AT&T services!!!! I promissed these guys that I will tell everyone about their services, here you go I am telling!!! Guys you are the best, thank's a lot!!!
Here is their link: www.cellfree.us they are the best in this field.