"Factory-installed, Screen-based Systems Have a Distinct Advantage: They're Not Hanging From the Windshield by a Suction Cup."

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Why isn't GM's OnStar quaking in its e-boots? The proliferation of portable GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) devices has rendered their telemetry system's navigation service the VHS of sat knavery. Speaking to WardsAuto, OnStar's President says pish-posh [paraphrasing], and reveals himself as a fan of John F. Kennedy's "rising tide equals multiple boat lifting" shtick. Chet Huber claims "the boom in portable navigation systems is good for his business too." Yes, but what's the Unique Selling Point? "There is a lot to be said for the aesthetics of a factory-installed system." Meanwhile, OnStar fights back! "OnStar currently offers turn-by-turn navigation to subscribers and for the ’09 model year will make “Destination Download” available to 80% of all GM vehicles. The feature allows subscribers with screen-based navigation systems to download destinations from an OnStar adviser on the fly. Another feature bowing later this year for screen-based users is 'OnStar e-Nav' which allows a subscriber to plan routes at MapQuest.com and then download up to five destinations to his vehicle." Wait! Do you hear it? Sounds like somebody closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.

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  • Theodore Theodore on May 20, 2008
    HEATHROI : May 20th, 2008 at 3:47 pm Theodore: Buy a map. how 2 dimensional can you get? Well, I tried a globe, but the scale was a real bitch. Anyway, there aren't too many places you can drive a great circle route.

  • Captain Tungsten Captain Tungsten on May 20, 2008

    I've used all three (W/S mount, factory nav, OnStar). My preference for nav is W/S mount, mainly because it's "hanging from the windshield", which, as it happens, is exactly where you are looking most of the time. Looking down at the console to inspect the factory nav systems is more distracting than useful. And, as pointed out here several times, W/S mount is way cheaper. OnStar is one of those things that is tough to market; you don't "get it" until you really use it. When you are hanging upside-down from your seatbelt after getting T-boned by a full size SUV, that voice over the phone asking if you are alright and if you need help is priceless. The radio campaign they did with the taped conversations with OnStar advisors was brilliant, really captured that experience. Turn by turn nav is inferior to W/S or factory nav systems, except for the ability to use a human to find a POI. That is a big benefit.

  • Kjc117 Kjc117 on May 21, 2008

    I was just pondering OEM sat navs while purchasing the IS350 and 350Z. Should a 2008 $30k+ plus car have sat nav standard? The Lexus sat nav has built in back up camera and can play DVD's while in park, the Nissan does not. Conclusion, for premium brands get the OEM sat nav for no premium brands skip it and get a Garmin or TomTom.

  • Captain Neek Captain Neek on May 21, 2008

    Just a short note from deepest, darkest Africa. Down here in the carjacking capital of the world, viz. Johannesburg, the police have issued a warning against programming vehicle satnavs with your home address... It appears that the thieving, violent scum that prefer to liberate you from your vehicle at the sharp end of a gun in this neck of the woods have cottoned on to the fact that it's much easier to burgle a home when you have the keys, remotes etc, as well as a handy navigation device to guide you there (by using the "Home"-function). Moreover, since you have stolen the homeowner's vehicle, the chances of anyone being home (or, being able to get there fast) are remote. Consequently, the contents of the home can be removed at leisure and transported from the scene of the crime in the aforementioned stolen vehicle. Just some food for thought...

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