In a bid to rival Ford's Microsoft-powered Sync service, General Motors is reportedly in talks with Google to use its Android mobile operating system to link phones to GM's OnStar information service.
The concept: allow users of Android-based smartphones to use OnStar features from their phone -- such as maintenance information or electric battery charge level, in the case of the upcoming Chevrolet Volt -- when they're not in the car, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The move makes sense for GM, which has watched rival Ford differentiate itself in the new car market with its Sync communications platform. That service allows drivers to link the car's entertainment system and navigation console to smartphones and music players such as the Apple iPod.
Domestic automakers see the technology as a way to win back a generation of drivers that grew up with an affinity for high-quality Japanese imports.
The technology allows them to not only collect data, but generate revenue. The driver can receive navigation assistance, emergency help and diagnostic information, while the advertising partner can target consumers while they're in their car.
For GM, OnStar is a natural way to do this. The company's been using the connected service for years, and only now is repositioning it as an entertainment feature, rather than a vehicular life line. (The service carries a monthly fee.)
It's a win-win move for Google, too. While Google offers Google Maps Navigation on its top-tier Android smartphones -- which offers voice and receive turn-by-turn GPS directions -- an in-dash offering would allow it to cover the new, as well as the existing, car markets.
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