Text the U.S.A. From (the Backseat of) Your Chevrolet

Not only can OnStar (the in-vehicle mobile phone system) unlock your car doors, tell you where to go, help you deliver a baby, and propose to your girlfriend, soon, OnStar will also pull up your favorite movies as well as text your mother, all at the same time.

OnStar is showing off its new navigation and entertainment system called CUE, which will consist of a large touch screen in the center of the dash, in the backseat, or maybe even embedded as a heads-up display in the windshield (no, not really – as far as I know the technology is only available in the movies).

CUE is being positioned to work much like an iPhone or any other touch screen SmartPhone.  In fact, OnStar has plans to open up its application programming interface (API) software so that third-party developers can create new apps for CUE.  (When visiting the ‘CUE Store’ does one need to actually drive there?)  In the same vein, CUE will be built on a software upgradeable platform that will use soft keys on-screen to access apps, movies, maps, your cup of java (well, at least order it, anyway).

How great would it be to turn your car into an iPhone?  Let’s not worry about drivers playing Angry Birds on their way to work, for now anyway.

As all early iPhone adopters have learned, a great device needs a fast and reliable network (thanks to AT&T for that often frustrating lesson). OnStar is NOT going down that same road.

In a vote of confidence to both its speed and overage, OnStar is heading to a deal with Verizon to use Verizon’s shiny new, if still not completely reliable, LTE network (see http://gigaom.com/broadband/verizon-explains-its-string-of-lte-outages/).

The speed of Verizon’s LTE network will be important for the navigation functionality of CUE to deliver real time high resolution maps that will make the DVD driven and stand alone navigation systems obsolete.

Expect CUE to also provide destination photos, and linked web content.  Going to a restaurant? See their menu on the way, and order your appetizers before you arrive.

Coming soon to a new Cadillac near you!

In a couple of years, it’ll migrate down to your Chevrolet.


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