When OnStar first announced its MyLink (later renamed to RemoteLink) mobile app, it left owners of some GM vehicles out in the cold, since several vehicles were not and still are not compatible with the app. The incompatibility, which is due to older OnStar hardware that’s not compatible with the automated system used by RemoteLink, has made some owners question the value of OnStar entirely. Luckily, we’ve found an alternative to RemoteLink. Enter Drone Mobile.
Drone Mobile, by CompuSTAR, offers most of the features presented by RemoteLink, and several more. Most of them are self-explanatory:
- Remote Start
- Keyless Entry & Trunk Release
- Panic activation
- GPS tracking — tracks your vehicle on a map, analogous to OnStar FamilyLink
- Geofence — sets up a digital fence around a point of interest (like work or home) and sends alerts when your vehicle enters and exits the set perimeter
- Low Battery Alert — sends an alert if your vehicle’s battery is low
- Curfew violations — sends alerts if your vehicle is operating before or after a pre-set time
- POI tracking — sends alerts when a vehicle arrives or departs a pre-determined location (Point Of Interest)
- Maintenance alerts — sends maintenance alerts based on set user intervals
The only feature Drone Mobile doesn’t offer compared to RemoteLink is showing the odometer reading, fuel range, fuel economy, and trip A/B readings. But we don’t think that will dishearten many.
Additionally, we’ve learned that the Drone Mobile app can be used to activate other vehicle features remotely, such as winding down windows or turning on heated seats. This requires some special wiring and connectivity upon installation, but we’ve now seen three instances where this has been done.
Just like RemoteLink, Drone works over the web, so one doesn’t have to be in physical distance of a vehicle to use it. The app runs on iOS, Android, and Blackberry devices and can control many vehicles; if you’d rather use a computer (or a web browser) to use Drone, you can do that as well — a feature that’s been rumored to make its way over to OnStar but hasn’t as of this writing.
Here’s a demo of the service:
The Drone hardware starts at $349.99 for vehicles already equipped with a remote starter system and $549.99 for vehicles that are not. The monthly service is free for the first year and costs $9.99 a month thereafter (compared to $29.99 for OnStar’s Directions & Connections plan). Be sure to factor in a professional installation for Drone as well.
So, are you interested in Drone Mobile? If so, will you be writing to Santa about it come Christmas 2012? Talk to us in the comments!
The GM Authority Take
Looks like GM/OnStar isn’t interested in offering owners of incompatible vehicles a for-pay upgrade kit. Their loss, Drone Mobile’s gain.
Hat tip to Derek D.