OnStar Teams with Google; New Smartphone/Radios from Harman

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As we said before, the car companies are getting VERY serious about smartphone apps. True to an earlier report, OnStar revealed it is working with Google to develop new apps for the Chevy Volt while Harman is developing a “smartphone/car radio” with Nokia. What’s a smartphone/radio?
Harman, which makes OEM car AV products, said the car radio’s screen will mimic what appears on the phone’s screen to provide a larger, higher resolution display for your phone. “The smartphone display is copied on the larger, infotainment system screen and commands can be given either by voice, touch or traditional in car controls to enable ease of use,” said a news release. The information could be transferred to the screen via Bluetooth and USB.
The system might also give you warnings when your gas tank is low, and suggest nearby gas stations. It might even play a role in driver safety—alerting you to slow down at a sharp bend in the road. “The infotainment system of a modern car is a natural extension for the capabilities of smartphones,” said Nokia director of automotive, Vesa Luiro, Director.
Back to OnStar; the Google apps will let you press a button on an Android phone to find your Chevy Volt. Or you can input your next destination as you walk to the car and OnStar will have directions ready when you hop in the vehicle: not exactly earth shattering features but who knows what Google and OnStar are cooking up for the future.
The Google-developed apps will be shown tomorrow and Thursday (May 19-20) at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco. The new apps will be available as an update but not at launch with the Chevy Volt—GM’s electric car due late this year. Apps featured at launch for the Volt include remote start from the phone and control over the Volt’s charging system from a BlackBerry, iPhone, and Motorola Droid.
–Amy Gilroy
Sources: Harman, OnStar
Photo: Chevy Volt

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