Plans still nebulous
Apple is among of a number of US corporations that have agreed to change hiring practices to avoid discriminating against the long-term unemployed, says the New York Times. The pledge comes at the behest of President Obama, who is hosting a meeting of CEOs at the White House later today to promote his efforts. White House officials say that about 300 businesses have agreed to alter hiring policies, including 21 of the 50 biggest American corporations, and 47 out of the top 200.
Alliance creating single platform for Android-based in-car systems
Google is pushing to bring Android to cars, confirming recent rumors, though not as a partnership with a single car manufacturer as first thought. The Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), made up of Google, Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai, and Nvidia, has been formed to create a single common platform for in-car systems, one which it hopes will improve the experience of the driver and passengers on the road.
GM bringing Powermat wireless charging to autos
General Motorls will offer consumers the option of wireless charging for mobile devices in some of its automobiles, Bloomberg reported this week. Select GM models will be equipped with Powermat wireless charging surfaces, which will require compatible devices that either have wireless charging capabilities built in or are paired with a wireless charging case. The collaboration was confirmed by Powermat Technologies CEO Ran Poliakine, though GM has so far declined to comment.
General Motors has announced that it will be the first car maker to integrate Apple’s Siri into its vehicles. The Chevorlet Spark and the Sonic LTZ and RS models will be the first to integrate Siri’s voice control capabilities via their built-in MyLink infotainment systems. The capability is dependent on owners having a compatible iPhone running iOS 6 or higher.
Facebook free media push backfired, say sources
The recent decision by General Motors to cease its paid advertising operations on Facebook may have been the result of a failed pitch on Facebook's part to convince the automaker of the efficacy of advertising on the social network. Sources familiar with dealings between the two companies tell Reuters that Facebook's dual pitches—touting both free media advertising and paid advertising—served only to convince GM that its paid ads weren't effective enough to justify the cost.
Car giant has little faith in Facebook advertising
General Motors has announced that it will cease advertising on Facebook, Agence France-Presse reports. The move could signal trouble for Facebook, which is currently attempting to allay prospective stockholder concerns in the run-up to its initial public offering.
Chevy GogoLink to undercut Ford for GPS options
GM on Wednesday sought to counter the navigation side of Ford Sync with a unique option depending on smartphones. GogoLink will give Chevy Sonic and Spark drivers in-car, turn-by-turn navigation by using a smartphone app that relays its position and info to the touchscreen in the center stack. It should range from basic points of interest coverage with offline map caching to Google-based local searches, live traffic, and 3D mapping.
Nevada first to allow autonomous vehicle testing
Nevada is the first US state that has approved the use of self-driving cars on its road system, such as those being developed by Google. The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles' Legislative Commission approved the regulations earlier this week. The autonomous test vehicles will need to have a red license plate attached until green plates arrive and signal public use.
GM to launch CUE in Spring, ready to open OnStar
GM held a press conference -- the first of CES it boasted -- on Sunday night, which focused on the future of its OnStar in-vehicle enternainment, assistance and connection system. GM has started testing the second-generatio'n of the system with Verizon in a Chevrolet Volt, connecting it to the carrier's 4G LTE network. GM is doing this mainly because it also announced it will release the OnStar API to third-party developers starting in the second half of the year. The devs will have access to an OnStar Advanced Telematics Operations Managment System (ATOMS), which would be an app store of sorts.
System appears to be connected via 4G
GM subsidiary OnStar has teased a revamped infotainment system that takes advantage of 4G LTE networks to expand the range of connected features. The company is currently teasing the new system, which will allow users to participate in video chats via Skype. The faster connection speeds also enables users to access streaming multimedia content.
Second investigation launched into L-Ion batteries
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) is reportedly looking into the safety of lithium-ion batteries used in electric automobiles. The action identified by Bloomberg tipsters comes in the aftermath of a recent battery fire involving a Chevy Volt. The scope of investigation will most probably include plug-in vehicles from Nissan and Ford, as well as other General Motors subsidiaries.
OnStar decides against making data cutoff opt-out
OnStar quickly backtracked from a policy that drew a senator's accusations of privacy violations with a policy change on Wednesday. Rather than leave the data link turned on for ex-subscribers unless they opt out, the GM-backed car service will turn off data the moment service drops. If a post-cancel option for data came through, it would only be an opt-in process, OnStar president Linda Marshall said.
FCC asked to look into OnStar privacy concerns
GM's in-car OnStar live operator assistance service violates the privacy of its users, US senator and Democrat Charles Schumer claims and wants the FCC to investigate. The system maintains two-way communications with a customer even when the service is discontinued and reserves the right to sell the data from the connection. OnStar, however, disagrees with this accusation and said the two-way transmission can stop anytime, with no driving data ever shared or sold.
Apps also power RIM BlackBerry Playbook
RIM's real-time OS developer QNX has revealed that its Neutrino real-time OS and Aviage audio processing have been embedded in Onstar's new FMV rear-view mirror which the GM division launched in August. Onstar is using the aftermarket mirror to provide access for non-GM car owners to its driver's services. The QNX code is used to tune the system performance and hands-free calling.
Car systems such as OnStar, Sync, more hacked
Security researchers from iSEC Partners claim to have found a way to unlock vehicles from four large manufacturers using a cellphone and a text message. Don Bailey and Mathew Solnik can access remote control and telemetry systems from BMW (Assist), GM (OnStar), Ford (Sync), and Hyundai (Blue Link). They reverse-engineered access using off-the-shelf parts and a few hours of their time.
Spotify finally active in US
Spotify as promised has at last started up service in US. The music streaming provider is currently active in an invite-only beta but has 15 million tracks and the full feature set of its European counterpart. It includes an expanded free service with ads, a $5 Unlimited monthly plan that gives full streaming on the web, and a $10 Premium plan that gives full access on Android, iOS, and other devices like Sonos and Logitech Squeezebox systems.
Microsoft gets bills that hit supplier piracy
Microsoft has stirred controversy in the past week by passing a bill (PDF) in its main state of Washington, as well as proposals in Oregon (PDF), New York, and several other states, that could make firms liable for pirated software use by their suppliers. The move would let Microsoft or anyone else sue a US company if one of its contractors uses pirated content to make, market, or ship a product. In Washington, Microsoft could seek triple damages or a ban on a company's products if the case went to trial.
Chevy intros MyLink to take on Ford Sync
Chevy tonight kicked off GM's own alternative to Ford Sync. MyLink is designed to pair up with smartphones and will stream audio and handle calls from smartphones over Bluetooth. Like its challenger, it uses voice commands (here handled using Nuance's engine) and will directly control smartphone apps aware of the interface, starting with Internet radio from Pandora and Stitcher.
Chevy Cruze gets realtime Facebook integration
Chevrolet is offering a sneak peek at its Superbowl TV ads on its Facebook page.One of them, called Status (below), highlights the car's ability to read Facebook's newsfeed content to the driver. Exactly how this is done isn't revealed, though the fine print contains OnStar text so the now data-aware service is involved.
Chevy and OnStar go live for Apple and Google
GM and OnStar today sent word that their promised remote control apps have arrived for both Android and iOS devices. The free myChevrolet, myCadillac and OnStar MyLink (all App Store links) titles try to cover every aspect of driving. They can remotely unlock, start or sound the horn on the car as well as access information from the car itself, such as the fuel and oil levels, the tire pressure and the odometer.
MeeGo to reach in-car entertainment systems
The nonprofit Linux Foundation on Friday said the GENIVI Alliance will go with the open-source MeeGo OS for its new In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) system. The decision gives automakers like BMW, GM and PSA Peugeot Citroen the new mobile platform and makes Delphi, GM, Intel, Magneti-Marelli, Visteon, Wind River and others the suppliers. IVI includes apps in vehicles that can be used by everyone in the car, including navigation, media, location-based services, and access to the Internet as well as media players and phones
OnStar mobile apps go beyond Volt
GM today expanded its OnStar mobile apps to cover more cars than just the Chevy Volt. Both the Android and iOS apps for the brands will now monitor and sometimes control most 2011 model year Buick, Cadillac, Chevy and GMC vehicles. Drivers will have the option of remotely starting the car, unlocking it or triggering the horn; the approach can work over any Internet connection.
GM joins Ford in adding Google Maps nav to cars
GM today became the second US automaker to add Google Maps support to its in-car GPS. The system behaves somewhat like that of Ford's Sync service and lets owners push directions from Google Maps to the car through OnStar. The approach lets those without a Chevrolet Volt or Android get turn-by-turn navigation info in advance.
Volt drivers can use Android GPS with OnStar
GM used the run-up to the Google I/O conference today to add a new feature to its promised Android app for the Chevy Volt. The mobile software will now tie into Google Maps Navigation as well as OnStar: drivers can push directions from Google's GPS to OnStar and use the car's own system for voice guidance. A Volt's own position can be tracked independently of the phone, and Google Maps Navigation can provide directions.
OnStar to announce Android partnership next week?
The rumor that GM is partnering with Google to bring Android mobile OS integration is expected to become official soon, as a new leak today has claimed that the the mobile OS will be used to control unspecified features through a smartphone rather than the car itself. OnStar President J. Christopher Preuss fueled the speculation with word of significant news next week through the company's Facebook page.
Chevy SUVs, trucks get on-road wireless
Chevrolet today became the latest automaker in the US to add roving Internet access to its vehicles. The Avalanche, Equinox, Express, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe and Traverse all now have an after-sale option of an Autonet router that provides a 1.5Mbps connection even at speed. Like the Chrysler option, it accomplishes the feat by sharing a 3G link over a local Wi-Fi hotspot that shares the connection with passengers and those within a 150-foot radius.
Intel car batteries?
Chipmaker Intel may get into the battery making business for plug-in electric cars, if the company's former chief executive, Andrew Grove gets his way, according to a Friday WSJ report (membership required). Grove, 72, retired in 2005 but still advises Intel and is urging the current chief executive, Paul Otellini, to diversify the company's business by manufacturing batteries for the auto industry. Grove is a hybrid car proponent and sees it as an emerging market. He believes Intel's large research and development resources could bring down the costs of batteries, which are the most costly component of a plug-in vehicle.