Standard on every new General Motors vehicle, OnStar is that service (and company) that’s so useful yet known by so very few. The GM subsidiary, however, is looking to change this and make the service more appealing to customers.
OnStar could be getting new functions such as integration with smartphone devices (apps) that would allow customers to check on their vehicles remotely. New features could include the ability to perform tasks such as locking and unlocking doors and starting the engine – all remotely as well. We already know that the Chevy Volt will be available with similar features, so it may be safe to say that it may only be a matter of time before the rest of the GM line-up gets the smartphone app treatment. But the good news doesn’t end there – we now have more than just hope and speculation to base this on.
In a recent interview, OnStar chief Chris Preuss told CNN Money that General Motors has partnered with a major technology company to help bring added services to market. While he didn’t reveal the company by name, we are always game for a round of speculation.
Unless GM is planning on rewriting the OnStar service from the ground up, Microsoft and its segment-leading Auto Platform (read; SYNC) is most likely out of the picture. It’s safe to say that Apple isn’t the company in question either, given the company’s desire to control the final product. Needless to say, unless Apple builds its own car, it won’t get the levels of control it desires by partnering with GM and OnStar. Therefore, we think it’s safe to cross Apple out of the potential partners list for OnStar. Eliminating Apple and Microsoft leaves only a few major tech organizations – but my personal bet is on Google, which was most recently seen dabbling in automotive space.
What’s more, the interview with Mr. Preuss revealed that GM wants to push OnStar past GM-only vehicles. This means that we may begin to see OnStar in non-GM products under some sort of licensing agreement. In fact, doing so would simulate Microsoft’s licensing strategy with SYNC, which most recently became available on Hyuindai-Kia vehicles. In the late 1990s, Toyota’s Lexus licensed OnStar from GM but has since then replaced it with a service of its own named Lexus Enform and Safety Connect.
Let’s hope that GM takes our suggestions for OnStar into consideration! Stay tuned as we learn more![Source: CNN Money via Autoblog]