Sometimes you see a commercial and you don’t even need to hear the full pitch. You see the product and get the gist of what it does and you want it because you know it fills a niche in your life. And then, you see the price and you know you will not have one…at least not THAT one.
That happened to me recently when I saw an ad on YouTube that really caught my attention. (As much as I despise those ads, every once in a while they work.) It was for a license plate surround with dual integrated backup cameras. The cool thing about the product was its solar charging built into the surround and lack of wires…along with a plug that goes into your car’s OBD socket and the requisite app to help get the most out of the product.
The company was founded by three former Apple employees who worked on the iPod and iPhone and are, as their web site explains, dedicated to making the same transformative change in the auto industry by delivering advanced, adaptive and continually improving driver assistance features to all 1.2 billion cars on the road.
It’s a great concept for those of us who have an older vehicle that doesn’t have the backup camera or backup sensors. The app on your smartphone is what provides the view, a regular view and fishbowl view to better see around corners, and the OBD plug that links the cameras to your phone wirelessly.
It all sounds so nice and simple. And you know what that means, it’s gonna cost you. Call it the Apple Tax but when you get something so complicated yet is supposed to work so simply, you know you’re going to have to pay extra for that.
Pearl RearVision, as it’s called, will set you back $500, which includes the camera frame, car adapter and a phone mount. The first catch is that your car has to be from 1996 or newer, since that is the year OBD II was mandated. The second catch is that you need either an iPhone 5 or newer along with iOS 9 or newer…or an Android phone that has Bluetooth 4.0 and Android 5.0 Lollipop or newer.
Granted, most who would want this tech on their car either have all of the above already or will be buying a new car with backup camera already installed. It seems that the market for this is quite small at the price they are seeking…but if they sell 10,000 units at $500 that’s $5 million. Not a bad payday as long as they didn’t have that much in research and development costs.
My opinion is that they will sell quite a few to tuners and people who think this will help make their cars safer for them to drive. But I think that the market will dry up fast if they don’t either drop the price or come out with a less expensive model.
I think it’s a great product. It seems very well designed and meets a need, at least for the next couple of years as the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has mandated backup cameras on all vehicles that weigh less than 5 tons beginning in May of 2018.
We’ll keep an eye on Pearl’s RearVision to see just how well it does.
… See You Down The Road!