The GM Android car: coming soon?

Holy Android, Batman: Your Google-powered smartphone may soon be able to control your car.

Holy Android, Batman: Your Google-powered smartphone may soon be able to control your car.

Google is reportedly in talks to connect its Android operating system with General Motors' OnStar car service. If the early clues prove to be true, the Android-OnStar combination could pack a whole lot of power into the palm of your hand.

GM's OnStar Meets Google's Android

First, a disclaimer: Neither Google nor GM has directly confirmed any type of Android-OnStar arrangement thus far. I reached out to both companies this afternoon; a Google spokesperson declined to comment, and a rep from OnStar told me her team regularly has "conversations with other companies to discuss opportunities for collaboration" but that it had nothing "tangible" to announce at this time.

With that said, multiple sources are now reporting that an Android-powered OnStar is the real deal -- and a GM executive recently discussed a major OnStar relaunch plan that certainly could fit the bill.

So here's what we're hearing: Google and GM are working on a partnership that'd "link" Android-based cell phones to OnStar-enabled vehicles. Just today, The Wall Street Journal reported that the GM-Google deal would "add features to OnStar that consumers could control" with their Android phones.

That report lines up with an even more specific story published by Motor Trend magazine on Friday. The crew at Motor Trend claims the Android-OnStar alliance would offer similar features to Ford's MyFord Touch system -- things like dashboard-based phone controls, media playback, and navigation -- but it'd also take things a step further by allowing Android owners to remotely control their cars via their phones.

That's right: The Android-OnStar setup, according to Motor Trend, would let you unlock your doors, start up your engine, and adjust other in-vehicle settings simply by tapping a few keys on your phone's screen.

GM and OnStar's Future

Here's the part that makes this all seem even more plausible: In a recent interview with CNNMoney, OnStar President Chris Preuss confirmed that a new, souped-up version is OnStar is well in the works. Preuss said the OnStar edition set to debut with the Chevy Volt later this year "offers a glimpse" at the kind of features that are in store.

Then there's this sentence:

"'This year's OnStar relaunch involves a major technology push inside GM as well a partnership with a major outside technology company,' said Preuss, who declined to reveal who GM's partner is or exactly what they're doing."

Followed by this one:

"'There are still a few things we want to keep under our hats,' he said."

A tweet sent by Preuss last Friday also states that OnStar is working on multiple new apps, presumably for the same next-generation system.

So if the Google-GM deal is actually happening, when could we see the evidence? The Wall Street Journal report says OnStar will reveal some type of "significant news" next week. The gang from CNNMoney, meanwhile, expects OnStar to unveil its new system sometime this summer. And Motor Trend is putting its money on early 2011 for an OnStar-Android announcement.

It should only be a matter of time, then, until Steve Jobs denounces GM as "the automaker for porn fiends."

JR Raphael is a PCWorld contributing editor and the co-founder of eSarcasm. He's on Facebook: facebook.com/The.JR.Raphael

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Google Android

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

JR Raphael

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?