By on February 25, 2013

Check her rear

Not only will GM’s OnStar switch from the allegedly ultra-reliable and most dense Verizon network to the allegedly not-so reliable and not-so-dense AT &T network, as Reuters reports. It will also “make each of its cars an Internet hotspot with a high-speed broadband connection,” as Automotive News has it.

GM will start using AT&T in its 2015 models, going on sale in mid-2014. The 4G LTE connection will provide higher bandwidth services, which are a bit murky at the moment. Automotive News talks about “streaming video for backseat passengers and updating the navigation system remotely,” whereas Reuters sees the car going the other way, “wirelessly sending customers alerts about possible engine problems or sending data or even video from a car to the owner’s mobile device to show what’s going on next to the vehicle in case of any problems.”

So once two-way communication is established, you can shout “take your effing finger off my effing car!!!” right from the privacy of your home. But the biggest deal is that you can use your car as a hotspot, says Automotive News. No more hanging out in front of Starbucks, instead, people will hang out in front of your car. Of course, you could use the 4G LTE connection of your phone and get it over with – but that would be too simple, no? The interesting part is, speaking of carbucks: How much will it cost? Neither AN nor Reuters could find out. And this being AT&T: What in-car cap are we talking about? So many questions.

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6 Comments on “Forget Starbucks – It’s Carbucks!...”


  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Just brought backs memeories of iPhone users on AT&T. Your lucky to get a text messages rural Ohio. Voice is non-existent.

    Can’t let cars be cars and let our smart phones do music, navigation…?

  • avatar
    PlentyofCars

    FYI, OnStar runs on Blackberry software (the new operating system QNX).

    So we are likely to see a stealth version of the Blackberry tablet built into GM cars at some point.

    • 0 avatar
      PCP

      QNX is far from a new OS, it’s actually been around in the embedded world since years. And two systems based on QNX are not necessarily compatible.

      Finally it would probably make more sense commercially to be open to the iOS and Android world, for instance through APIs, as demonstrated by Ford with it’s SYNC system, itself still based on Windows CE (afaik).

      • 0 avatar
        PlentyofCars

        It is the new Blackberry phone operating system, which is what I was referring to. They have been demonstrating cars at car shows (and I think CES in Vegas) that had a Blackberry tablet where the nav system is now.

        The new BB is already for sale most everywhere but the USA. I believe it goes on sale in USA around March 1st.

        BTW, Phone QNX will run most Android apps (not the poorly programed ones).

  • avatar
    redav

    If these are hotspots, who pays for the data?

  • avatar
    Mike

    This change makes sense. The important bit here is not so much that the network is AT&T, but that the underlying technology is GSM. GSM is prevalent world-wide, where the CDMA network that Verizon uses is limited (with a few exceptions) to North America. This would allow GM to use the same infrastructure in all of their vehicles world-wide.

    Here in the good ‘ol USA, I would expect the range concerns to be more limited as well. Considering the car will have a better power supply and antenna than the smartphone in your pocket, the power (and therefore range,) will likely be increased significantly.

    As for the data plan, I’m sure OnStar would be quite happy to add that feature to your account “ala-carte” and bill you accordingly. Odds are you would not have to work with AT&T directly.


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