There’s nothing like going to the Chicago Auto Show. I mean, yes, I’m a geek, and this is a gadget blog, but I can still look, can’t I? And besides, there’s more to cars than how it looks and how much horsepower it has. Think about it … not too long ago, you picked a car based on how much it cost, how much range it got on a tank of gas, how many people it could hold and how it looked. Now you have to consider things like if the standard radio has satellite and/or an auxiliary input, USB ports and if it includes navigation. People are more and more looking at how car manufacturers are integrating information and entertainment into their vehicles, and car manufacturers are constantly improving upon something that at one time was considered a frivolous option. This year I spent some time with General Motors and got an idea of how they’re integrating entertainment into their newest range of vehicles. General Motors has a few different lines of vehicles, and each line has its own spin on “Infotainment”. First, let’s look at Chevy.
Chevrolet branded vehicles have MyLink, and at the Auto Show they were showing the AppShop that will allow people with certain 2015 model year vehicles to download apps to their MyLink over a 4G LTE connection through OnStar. Applications for things like music, weather, news, travel and vehicle information can be downloaded and used without having to pair your car to a cellphone. What this also means is that now your car is a 4G LTE rolling hotspot, so no more driving around looking for a Starbucks to park next to and hope their Wi-Fi range is sufficient to reach the car.
GMC and Buick use IntelliLink, which is similar to the MyLink system in the Chevy models. Certain 2015 models of GMC verhicles will have the updated IntelliLink system that also has 4G LTE capabilities and access to the GMC AppShop, that will also allow people to download and utilize applications.
The one that I love the most is, naturally, Cadillac’s implementation of Infotainment with their CUE system. At the Auto show Cadillac was showing off its new 2015 ATS Coupe, and one of the features its bringing is OnStar’s 4G LTE functionality that will be integrated with their CUE system. Applications will be available on the Cue Collection, which is a new car app marketplace for Cadillac.
The CUE, MyLink and IntelliLink systems also includes text-to-voice features for smartphone users which will read incoming text messages and play them through the cars speakers. iPhones running iOS 6 or 7 can utilize the Siri Eyes Free feature that allows you to interact with Siri without having to touch your phone. Smartphone integration is made via Bluetooth but for those of you who prefer to use cables to have the music from your phone play through your cars speakers, I’m pretty sure I saw an auxiliary input on some of the cars. Not as cool, but I guess it’ll work in a pinch.
Curious? Don’t blame you. For more information, check out GMC, Buick, Chevrolets or Cadillac’s websites (or a dealership so that you can play with it!) and find out if the car you’re looking at has the upgraded Infotainment features. If not, maybe consider one that does. There’s nothing quite as cool as being able to utilize some of the applications that you have on your phone in your car, WITHOUT having to use your phone.
Talk to you soon!