Bosch SmartphoneHub – a special type of smartphone holder

Conventional smartphone holders for e-bikes are primarily used to attach smartphones. However, the Bosch SmartphoneHub is different. It turns your e-bike into a smart e-bike - at least that's what the manufacturer promises. You only need to attach your smartphone and the completely connected riding experience becomes possible. Using your smartphone as a display allows you to benefit from all the advantages that come with it. In this article we will tell you how the SmartphoneHub works, what you need for it and whether this special holder is worth the money.

Sustainable app development should emphasize quality and a reliable partner like PowUnity.

About the Bosch SmartphoneHub in a nutshell:

  • The Bosch SmartphoneHub is mounted on the handlebar of the e-bike and has a holder for your smartphone. In conjunction with the COBI.Bike app and your smartphone, the hub becomes the control centre for your bike. Without a smartphone, you can read important data on the LCD display of the smartphone hub.
  • Functions of the SmartphoneHub + Cobi.Bike app: charging function directly at the hub with USB or via the iPhone holder Mount Case, navigation, fitness tracking, setting of riding modes, Help Connect incl. fall detection, display with data on support and battery charge level.
  • Alternative to SmartphoneHub, smartphone and Cobi.Bike app: Bosch eBike Connect (for Bosch bikes with Nyon or Kiox), the COBI.Bike system or Smartphone Grip in combination with the Bosch eBike Flow app.
  • The PowUnity app offers you a cross-system solution. Together with the BikeTrax GPS tracker, it offers you reliable e-bike theft protection via real-time tracking throughout Europe.

One of the first things you might notice is that if you want to equip your e-bike with the Bosch SmartphoneHub, you have to “dig deeper” into your pocket than for a conventional holder. But the “inconspicuous” device can do a lot more. As an interface between your smartphone and your e-bike, it allows you to use your smartphone as a display and to use a variety of functions via your smartphone – from navigation and fitness tracking to controlling riding modes. Apart from the smartphone, hub and e-bike, all you need is the COBI.Bike app. But how exactly does the Bosch SmartphoneHub work and what are its advantages and disadvantages? We will take a closer look at this below.

The Bosch SmartphoneHub at a glance

The Bosch SmartphoneHub is mounted on the handlebar of the e-bike and has a holder for your smartphone. Actually, you can choose between two different holders.

In combination with the COBI.Bike app and your smartphone, the hub becomes a fully networked control centre for your (smart) e-bike. It allows you to access the Bosch eBike Connect portal and all online services of the company as well as navigate, track the most important training data and much more.

In case you don’t have your smartphone with you, the SmartphoneHub has its own LCD display on which you can read the most important riding data. In this way, it also works alone as a bike computer.

Functions of the SmartphoneHub and the COBI.Bike app

Two different holders for your smartphone

As we already mentioned, you can choose between two holders to have your smartphone connected to the hub and e-bike:

  • The Mount Case is ideal for attaching the iPhone X as well as 6, 7 or 8 in standard and plus versions. You also have the option to get a cover for weather protection.
  • The Universal Mount fits all iPhones and Android phones that are a maximum of 78 mm wide (with cover).

Other services and functions

Other functions, some of which are still quite new, are the following:

  • CO2 tracker: Do you want to know how much CO2, money and fuel you save with your pedelec compared to your car? The COBI.Bike app will tell you.
  • Live weather forecast: The precise weather data ensure that you know when it’s time to find shelter.
  • Audio control for entertainment: If you’re bored of just riding, the COBI.Bike app provides you with access to your favourite streaming libraries and audio book streaming services. Music is then controlled via the hub or the smartphone app.

How well do the SmartphoneHub and COBI.Bike app perform in practice?

Both the SmartphoneHub and the COBI.Bike app were introduced a few years ago. Since then, Bosch has come to grips with various teething problems, at least according to reviews of the app. Other problems, however, have remained. For example, navigation in 2D or 3D map view sometimes seems unnecessarily complicated. E-bikers should also plan enough time for the regular updates.

Most users are pleased with the SmartphoneHub itself, except for the still rather high price.

Advantages and disadvantages of the SmartphoneHub from Bosch

Should you equip your e-bike with the SmartphoneHub or not? As always, there are some pros and cons.

Vor- und Nachteile des Bosch SmartphoneHubs

  • simple installation and operation
  • compatible with almost every smartphone
  • integrated display for use without smartphone
  • sits firmly on the handlebar
  • connected with thumb controller
  • possibility to charge your smartphone

  • high price
  • only for Bosch systems

Alternatives to the SmartphoneHub

If you are looking for an alternative to the combination of SmartphoneHub, Cobi.Bike app and smartphone, you can use the Bosch eBike Connect app. This option is particularly suitable if your bike has a Bosch drive with the Nyon or Kiox on-board computer. In this case, the app is even completely free. However, in contrast to the SmartphoneHub, the range of functions is limited and the performance in practice is inconsistent. There is also the COBI.Bike System, which is available in three variants, COBI.Bike Sport, COBI.Bike and COBI.Bike Plus, or the Smartphone Grip, which is intended for combination with the eBike Flow app.

Either way, the following applies: For e-bikes with Bosch drive, you are dependent on Bosch apps.

Excursion: SmartphoneHub vs. SmartphoneGrip

New e-bikes with Bosch Smart System drive are no longer compatible with the SmartphoneHub. Instead, you can use the Bosch SmartphoneGrip.

This is a smartphone holder that, at around 50 euros, is significantly cheaper to buy than the SmartphoneHub. However, it has a charging function but no integrated display. The SmartphoneGrip can be used either with your smartphone or the Kiox 300 display. The eBike Flow app serves as the app.

So far, users are very enthusiastic about the Bosch SmartphoneGrip. However, the reactions to the eBike Flow app are mediocre. It does not always work without errors and the range of functions could be greater.

PowUnity App – cross-engine app with reliable real-time tracking

Are you looking for a reliable app for smooth route tracking via smartphone, preferably with theft protection? The PowUnity app can be used across different engine systems, regardless of whether your drive comes from Bosch or another manufacturer. Together with the BikeTrax GPS tracker, it ensures seamless real-time tracking throughout Europe.

If someone moves your e-bike without permission, you will be notified immediately. In addition, you can track a stolen e-bike in real time and transmit the live location to the police in the app – optimal conditions for getting a stolen e-bike back. The app automatically records all your routes and also includes a bike passport and a route diary. You get it free of charge with your GPS tracker. The GPS data flat rate for the first year is also free.

Sounds good? That’s not all!

In 2023, the PowUnity app will be expanded. You will be able to use your smartphone as a display, view speed and performance data as well as plan maintenance. In short: your smartphone will become a comprehensive control unit for your e-bike. And to e-bike manufacturers, we offer a white label solution of our PowUnity app.

Conclusion on the Bosch SmartphoneHub for e-bikes

The Bosch SmartphoneHub is an interesting solution for all e-bike riders who want to use their smartphone as a bike computer. Once installed, you can navigate thanks to the smartphone and Cobi.Bike app, call up real-time fitness data while exercising or listen to your favourite music and audio book streaming services. For the most part, all of this works well in practice, although some features do not yet seem fully developed. We also find it really useful that you can use the hub without a smartphone thanks to its own display.

As a retrofit kit, however, the Bosch product is not a small investment. Moreover, it only works with the manufacturer’s drives and the range of functions is limited. Theft protection, for example, is missing, not to mention real-time tracking, as offered by the PowUnity app and the BikeTrax GPS tracker.

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