US customers to see new apps in first half of 2012
Daimler and Google announced the strengthening of their strategic partnership, giving Daimler programmers full access to the suite of Google application programming interfaces (API) known collectively as Google Maps API for Business. The collaboration will enable Daimler to use Google Maps for their in-car map displays and speed development of other automotive apps.
GM to launch CUE in Spring, ready to open OnStar
GM held a press conference -- the first of CES it boasted -- on Sunday night, which focused on the future of its OnStar in-vehicle enternainment, assistance and connection system. GM has started testing the second-generatio'n of the system with Verizon in a Chevrolet Volt, connecting it to the carrier's 4G LTE network. GM is doing this mainly because it also announced it will release the OnStar API to third-party developers starting in the second half of the year. The devs will have access to an OnStar Advanced Telematics Operations Managment System (ATOMS), which would be an app store of sorts.
System appears to be connected via 4G
GM subsidiary OnStar has teased a revamped infotainment system that takes advantage of 4G LTE networks to expand the range of connected features. The company is currently teasing the new system, which will allow users to participate in video chats via Skype. The faster connection speeds also enables users to access streaming multimedia content.
OnStar decides against making data cutoff opt-out
OnStar quickly backtracked from a policy that drew a senator's accusations of privacy violations with a policy change on Wednesday. Rather than leave the data link turned on for ex-subscribers unless they opt out, the GM-backed car service will turn off data the moment service drops. If a post-cancel option for data came through, it would only be an opt-in process, OnStar president Linda Marshall said.
FCC asked to look into OnStar privacy concerns
GM's in-car OnStar live operator assistance service violates the privacy of its users, US senator and Democrat Charles Schumer claims and wants the FCC to investigate. The system maintains two-way communications with a customer even when the service is discontinued and reserves the right to sell the data from the connection. OnStar, however, disagrees with this accusation and said the two-way transmission can stop anytime, with no driving data ever shared or sold.
Apps also power RIM BlackBerry Playbook
RIM's real-time OS developer QNX has revealed that its Neutrino real-time OS and Aviage audio processing have been embedded in Onstar's new FMV rear-view mirror which the GM division launched in August. Onstar is using the aftermarket mirror to provide access for non-GM car owners to its driver's services. The QNX code is used to tune the system performance and hands-free calling.
Car systems such as OnStar, Sync, more hacked
Security researchers from iSEC Partners claim to have found a way to unlock vehicles from four large manufacturers using a cellphone and a text message. Don Bailey and Mathew Solnik can access remote control and telemetry systems from BMW (Assist), GM (OnStar), Ford (Sync), and Hyundai (Blue Link). They reverse-engineered access using off-the-shelf parts and a few hours of their time.
OnStar FMV kit coming to stores on August 1
The universal add-on for vehicles that will bring OnStar service will arrive at dealers on August 1, CE Outlook reported. The FMV kit will carry with it a monthly subscription fee and allow users to have some of the same features as GM vehicles with an OEM integrated version of the system. Dealers will begin placing final orders for the units this month, with early marketing set to begin later this week or next week.
App supports cars from Chevy, Buick, GMC, Cadillac
General Motors has announced that 14 of its 2010-model-year vehicles are now supported by the OnStar mobile applications. The expanded list includes the Cadillac DTS, Escalade, Escalade ESV and Escalade EXT; the Buick Enclave and Lucerne; the GMC Acadia, Yukon, and Yukon XL; and the Chevrolet Avalanche, IMpala, Suburban, Tahoe and Traverse.
OnStar FMV kit for non-GM vehicles updated
OnStar announced it will name its new mirror kit for vehicles other than GM's FMV, or For My Vehicle. It will be bundled with an external microphone that is said to offer the "best" voice quality. The FMV will otherwise bring many of the same services the full-blown offering does in GM vehicles.
Chevy intros MyLink to take on Ford Sync
Chevy tonight kicked off GM's own alternative to Ford Sync. MyLink is designed to pair up with smartphones and will stream audio and handle calls from smartphones over Bluetooth. Like its challenger, it uses voice commands (here handled using Nuance's engine) and will directly control smartphone apps aware of the interface, starting with Internet radio from Pandora and Stitcher.
Chevy Cruze gets realtime Facebook integration
Chevrolet is offering a sneak peek at its Superbowl TV ads on its Facebook page.One of them, called Status (below), highlights the car's ability to read Facebook's newsfeed content to the driver. Exactly how this is done isn't revealed, though the fine print contains OnStar text so the now data-aware service is involved.
Chevy and OnStar go live for Apple and Google
GM and OnStar today sent word that their promised remote control apps have arrived for both Android and iOS devices. The free myChevrolet, myCadillac and OnStar MyLink (all App Store links) titles try to cover every aspect of driving. They can remotely unlock, start or sound the horn on the car as well as access information from the car itself, such as the fuel and oil levels, the tire pressure and the odometer.
GM is reportedly planning on expanding its OnStar services to include new content offered for free, unnamed sources have told Bloomberg. The upgraded system is said to be linked to social networks such as Facebook, with speech automatically converted to text. It is unclear if GM has overcome the accuracy issues associated with some voice-to-text technology.
OnStar mobile apps go beyond Volt
GM today expanded its OnStar mobile apps to cover more cars than just the Chevy Volt. Both the Android and iOS apps for the brands will now monitor and sometimes control most 2011 model year Buick, Cadillac, Chevy and GMC vehicles. Drivers will have the option of remotely starting the car, unlocking it or triggering the horn; the approach can work over any Internet connection.
GM joins Ford in adding Google Maps nav to cars
GM today became the second US automaker to add Google Maps support to its in-car GPS. The system behaves somewhat like that of Ford's Sync service and lets owners push directions from Google Maps to the car through OnStar. The approach lets those without a Chevrolet Volt or Android get turn-by-turn navigation info in advance.
OnStar to announce Android partnership next week?
The rumor that GM is partnering with Google to bring Android mobile OS integration is expected to become official soon, as a new leak today has claimed that the the mobile OS will be used to control unspecified features through a smartphone rather than the car itself. OnStar President J. Christopher Preuss fueled the speculation with word of significant news next week through the company's Facebook page.
Saab extends OnStar service despite Spyker buyout
Car maker Saab Cars North America, which recently was bought by Spyker, from GM, has made an agreement with OnStar to keep offering the subscription service to future Saab buyers. All model year 2010 and newer Saabs sold in the United States will be covered under the deal. The service is free for one year for buyers of the Saab 9-3 Aero and Saab 9-5 models and includes navigation guidance and emergency help.
Analog OnStar to close
Some car owners and other users of General Motors' OnStar service may find themselves in trouble this February, the Associated Press notes. As of February 18th, the FCC will allow GM to halt the analog version of OnStar, in a bid to make its network all-digital. The difficulty is that while the approximately one million OnStar cellphones can be replaced, some cars built as late as 2005 can only access OnStar via analog signals, and have no support for GM's $15 digital upgrade. Meanwhile, some home alarm systems with OnStar must default to a backup connection without analog.