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OnStar To Deliver Mobile App Functionality Across GM Brands

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On: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 10:14AM | By: Chris Weiss


OnStar To Deliver Mobile App Functionality Across GM Brands

Early this year, at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, GM introduced an app for the Chevy Volt that brought basic vehicle controls like locking and unlocking doors to smartphones. With the growth of hybrid and electric vehicle technology, the lines between the automotive and consumer electronics markets are blurring, and the move appeared to be made to highlight the advanced technological aspects of the Volt plug-in. Today, GM announced that it won't be limiting app functionality to the 2011 Volt, or to plug-in vehicles; it will be offering apps for nearly all of its models beginning next year.

Most 2011 Buick, Cadillac, Chevy, and GMC vehicles will all offer brand-specific OnStar applications. The app functionality will be included with the standard OnStar subscription, not costing owners any additional money.

The OnStar apps will be brand-specific, offering a slightly different set of features for each individual GM brand. However, all apps will share a basic set of functions. The smartphone apps will take over the functions traditionally handled by a key fob: locking/unlocking doors, remote vehicle start, and horn/headlight activation. Unlike a key fob, the apps will provide a range that is limited only by the reception of the phone. GM owners can therefore be confident that their vehicles are locked up no matter where they happen to think of it.

The apps will take it well beyond a standard key fob, offering OnStar diagnostic information like fuel level, current and recommended tire pressures, remaining oil life, and odometer reading. Each brand's app will also get some brand-specific functions, which GM plans to divulge more details on as the apps launch.

The apps will require a password-protected, secure login to activate and a PIN for sending commands, so not any Joe Schmoe will be able to access all your vehicle's vitals.

Chevy did not announce a full list of vehicles that will benefit from the app upgrade, but did say that the "vast majority" of 2011 vehicles across its U.S. brand portfolio will get the apps. The apps will work with Android and iPhone handsets, launching "in the months ahead."

Joel Edwick, a GM Marketing VP, explained why the apps will differ across brands: “We’re working aggressively to bring the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC applications to market as soon as possible. Because we know that each brand’s customers have different tastes, wants and needs, the apps will be very specifically tailored to offer them the services they value most, leveraging these innovative OnStar features as a compelling mutual foundation.”

Press Release:

OnStar Expands Mobile App Technology Availability

Soon Available for 2011 Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC vehicles

2010-07-22

Detroit – Owners of most new 2011 Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC vehicles will soon be able to control key vehicle functions from their smart phones, thanks to the power of OnStar.

Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC are leveraging OnStar technology to develop the most robust mobile applications on the market for new vehicle owners. Each of the brand-specific apps will allow owners to activate all of the functions available on a traditional vehicle key fob – remote start, horn and lights and door lock/unlock – securely from their smartphones. This means drivers will no longer have to be within a requisite distance, or even have their keys with them, to control these functions on their vehicles.

"Giving our customers control of their vehicles with smart phone application technology is a key advantage of OnStar's in-vehicle connectivity," said Chris Preuss, OnStar president. “This technology empowers drivers to make decisions about their travels well before they enter the vehicle, meaning their full attention can stay where it needs to be – on the road ahead.”

For example, say someone is racing to catch a flight and realizes at the gate that he forgot to lock his vehicle. OnStar’s mobile app technology allows him to log into his Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick or GMC app, enter his custom PIN and send a remote lock signal to his vehicle, giving him the peace of mind to go on with his trip knowing his vehicle is secure.

Or, for example, a family attending a baseball game on a hot summer day could remotely start their vehicle as they are leaving the ballpark, so the vehicle is cooled to a comfortable temperature by the time they reach it.

In addition, the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC apps will leverage OnStar’s unique connection to the vehicle to provide key diagnostic information, including fuel tank level and range, remaining oil life, current and recommended tire pressure and lifetime average miles per gallon . The diagnostic information is current as of the last vehicle start, giving OnStar subscribers an up-to-date health report of their vehicle anytime they need it.

Important vehicle information, such as current odometer reading, vehicle VIN and OnStar account number also will be readily accessible within the apps upon secure login. And should OnStar subscribers need assistance with something that the mobile apps don’t provide, they can one-touch dial to specially trained advisors, who are available to assist customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The OnStar mobile app services will be available to millions of drivers of the vast majority of vehicles in the 2011 Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC portfolios, including the just-launched Chevrolet Cruze and Cadillac CTS Coupe, and are currently functional on the iPhone and Android systems. The Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC mobile applications will offer a variety of other features tailored specifically for each brand’s customers that will be revealed in totality when the brands begin bringing their apps to market in the months ahead.

“We’re working aggressively to bring the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC applications to market as soon as possible,” says Joel Ewanick, vice president, GM Marketing. “Because we know that each brand’s customers have different tastes, wants and needs, the apps will be very specifically tailored to offer them the services they value most, leveraging these innovative OnStar features as a compelling mutual foundation.”

OnStar and Chevrolet announced the auto industry’s first working smartphone application for the Chevrolet Volt at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. The Volt mobile application is a unique app that will be available to customers in tandem with the launch of the vehicle, as previously announced.

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