Last year, OnStar used its platform at the Consumer Electronics Show to announce that it was finally going to make its service available for installation in vehicles that were not made by General Motors. This year, the company showed it wants to branch out from its established position in the crash-response/locked-out-of-my-car industry by announcing a partnership with Verizon Wireless that could be bringing all sorts of other content to your car via 4G LTE.
The idea is to give users the wireless speed to stream content — songs, movies, Skype, etc. — either from a home computer or from a third-party service. Additionally, OnStar hopes this will allow users to connect all the passengers in the vehicle, so you can stream content to the kids in the backseat instead of having to bring DVDs or download movies.
But while that’s all great, no one has an idea — or at least they’re not yet saying — if this will cost anything extra. I spoke to a senior OnStar executive at CES who says the company is leaving open the possibility that there could be several pricing options when the product is ultimately launched.
Verizon and OnStar will each have a rigged-up Chevy Volt at their booth to demonstrate what they’re working on. I will get behind the wheel and honk at slow pedestrians, if they will let me.
In addition to the Verizon partnership, OnStar announced that it’s going to be throwing open its API to developers later this year so that third-party app makers can come up with new ways to turn an OnStar-enabled car into an iPad on wheels.
It remains to be seen whether making available the user-behavior info necessary to develop those apps will bring up the privacy issues that cause OnStar to scrap its plans to track users’ vehicle even after they’ve turned the service off. Though a rep for the company said that developers would not have direct access to personal information of its users.