OnStar officially announced a retail rear view mirror packed with OnStar features to be sold through Best Buy this spring and other retailers (including car electronics specialists).
Here in Las Vegas, the company pulled the curtain on a $299 aftermarket mirror that should cost another $75 to $100 to install. Service fees start at $199 a year or $18.95 a month.
The mirror has a built-in accelerometer to detect a crash. It then automatically notifies a live operator who can call emergency responders. Users can press a red button for advice in emergency situations. They also get turn-by-turn navigation, stolen vehicle assistance, and roadside assistance.
Unlike the Ford Sync, you don’t need a cellphone connection for service, but if you have an Android phone, OnStar is launching an app in January (in a public trial) that reads aloud your text messages and lets your respond by voice that’s converted to text—a first for an OEM app. You can also update Facebook via the app, which works over Bluetooth with the new mirror.
The new retail mirror essentially makes OnStar available for most cars. It is currently certified to work on 99 percent of the top 20 best-selling non-GM vehicles, or about 55 million cars and trucks. OnStar will certify additional cars in coming months.
“For years, thousands of drivers have asked us to get Onstar in vehicles that didn’t feature it as standard,” said OnStar president Chris Preuss.
He added, “The move in to the consumer electronics space represents the biggest development in our business model since introducing OnStar as standard across all GM products several years ago. It represents a quantum leap forward in our plans to grow our business…”
Ingram Micro will be the key distributor for the retail mirror and will serve as the key contact for interested retailers.
Also at CES, OnStar will display what 4G can do for its service. A prototype 4G OnStar shows you traffic camera views in your car to literally display a traffic jam ahead. It also permits skype video chat in the car. The prototype displayed in Buick LaCross at the Verizon Wireless booth has a security system with cameras around the car that can text you a video clip if someone hits your car in the parking lot.
The features are permitted by Verizon’s new 4G LTE network, which is up to 10 times faster than its 3G network, said Verizon and OnStar.
Source: OnStar and Verizon Wireless