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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Google Android

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

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?