Major upgrade announced for in-car entertainment system

General Motors has announced a major overhaul for its in-car communications and entertainment service OnStar.

The service, which has been trailing Ford's rival SYNC service in terms of infotainment functionality, will see a "top-to-bottom realignment" of longterm strategy, which the company says will be based around the concept of "responsible connectivity."

Simultaneous events in New York, Austin, San Francisco and Miami the evening of September 14 heralded the relaunch, with GM executives showcasing new technology that could soon be rolled out to the system.

Among the highlights was in-car social media interactions through an audio-enabled Facebook app - drivers can speak their status to update it and listen to their most recent news feed messages while on the road.

The company also revealed tests for voice-based SMS texting in the car, which allows drivers to dictate messages and have texts read to them while driving.

General Motors, echoing Ford's move earlier this year, has also invited student developers from leading universities to submit voice-enabled apps that could be used for drivers on the road.

Although rumors earlier this month suggested that certain parts of the subscription-based OnStar service could go free to compete with SYNC, GM said that "OnStar's new business strategy is built around a highly successful subscription model."

http://www.onstar.com

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