App Watch: Unlock and Warm Up Your Car With Your iPhone

As the temperature drops, some cold-weather commuters are trying out an iPhone app that lets them climb in to an unlocked, pre-heated car.

Directed Electronics, the company that sells the Viper car-alarm system, has developed an accompanying app called SmartStart that lets customers use their phone to lock or unlock the car, or turn the alarm on and off.

“There’s so many apps that are neat but don’t necessarily bring much more utility to the user,” said Kevin Duffy, president of Directed. “This really makes your life better.”

They can also press a button to start it–something customers like because they can avoid a chilly ride this way, he said–open the trunk, or press a panic button that makes the headlights flash and sounds the horn. The panic button doubles as a car finder in crowded parking lots and has been known to be used as a wake-up call as well, he said.

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