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Summary:

2014 is going to be a major overhaul year for GM when it comes to the connected car. The majority of Chevy’s new 2015 vehicles will get LTE connectivity as well as an in-dash upgrade.

2015 Corvette
photo: GM

Starting with the iconic Chevrolet line, General Motors plans to make all of its vehicles LTE-connected cars. Starting this summer, the new 2015 Corvette, Impala, Malibu and Volt will all come with embedded 4G connectivity, GM plans to announce at CES in Las Vegas. GM plans to add LTE to other car and truck models later this year, making the majority of its 2015 Chevy lineup connected by year end.

Though GM last year announced plans to begin connecting all of its U.S. fleet to AT&T’s LTE network as part of the next generation of its OnStar telematics system, until today it hadn’t released many details about the transition. Today GM cars in the U.S. are connected to Verizon’s 2G CDMA networks, but the move to LTE means not only much faster speeds to the car, but also an opportunity to for GM and AT&T to upsell a much broader array of mobile data services beyond telematics and roadside assistance.

ChevyMyLinkSiri07.jpg

At a CES media event, GM will into much more detail about what those services would be. All future vehicles, including Cadillacs and Buicks, will eventually come standard with AT&T 4G modules, which will power basic OnStar services, such as remote unlocking and vehicle diagnostics. But customers will get the option of subscribing to additional data services from GM, powering its MyLink infotainment services in the dashboard, as well as buy data plans directly from AT&T.

For the last year, GM has been quietly revamping its connected car platform and developer programs. With the launch of the new 4G cars, drivers will get access to the new platform and an app store called Appshop. GM said the initial catalog would include iHeartRadio, Priceline.com, The Weather Channel, NPR, Slacker Radio, TuneIn Radio, Cityseeker, Eventseeker, Glympse and Kaliki. That new app support will go a long way to help GM catch up with Ford’s Sync AppLink platform, which already hosts many dozens of apps.

While some GM cars today do support smartphone app integration, the options are very limited — some systems like Cadillac’s Cue only support a single app, Pandora. The new MyLink system will eventually bridge all of GM’s different vehicle lines and instead of relying on the driver’s smartphone, it will act as an independent device that hosts and runs its own apps and links to the internet through its own 4G connection.

connected car logoBut relying on an embedded 4G connection also requires owners to subscribe to a separate data plan. GM hasn’t revealed any details on pricing, but it appears car owners will be able to buy data plans from OnStar or AT&T or attach their cars their to their current shared data plans. The connected cars will come with a Wi-Fi access points that will redistribute the AT&T LTE connection to tablets, game consoles and any other Wi-Fi device in the car. GM is basically turning all future cars into mobile private hotspots. It’s just a question of whether customers will pay for the service.

The Corvette, Impala, Malibu and Volt are scheduled for release this summer, but Chevy models released later in the year will also get the LTE treatment. GM said the Equinox, Silverado, Silverado HD, Spark and Spark EV are confirmed as 4G vehicles, and it will announce other models later in the year. There’s still no word yet when Cadillacs and Buick are scheduled for the OnStar 4G overhaul.

This won’t be the last 4G car announcement will hear at CES. All of the major automakers are on hand in Las Vegas. Audi is likely to announce its first 4G car in the U.S. (it’s already launched one Europe) and even a possible partnership with Google to put Android into the dashboard.

  1. You could have mentioned that Blackberry has their QNX OS powering all OnStar equipped vehicles since the service started.

    QNX has at least 69% of the space with Audi, Mercedes, Acrua, Land Rover, Porsche, Hyundai, BMW, and so many more utilizing QNX based systems.

    You will never hear the press say a positive thing about anything Blackberry does.
    http://www.qnx.com/solutions/industries/automotive/#customers

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    1. Maybe because in this case, Blackberry is simply keeping the deals alive from it’s QNX purchase (i.e., they bought success, they haven’t revamped or innovated it significantly).

      You don’t get credit for buying a success and keeping the lights on – you’re supposed to use that success to build other success for your company (which, based on the Playbook, Z10 and Q10 were not successful enough to justify the QNX purchase).

      I have no ill-will towards Blackberry, but they should’ve seen Apple and Google coming years ago.

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