Useful technology, overpriced – OnStar for GM, Chevy vehicles

Here’s a useful technology that I personally have on my car because I couldn’t opt out unless I got
the car with it. The news that OnStar could go black for millions of analog subscribers in ’08 tells
only one story, that a useful technology that is overpriced might become useless and still overpriced.
I am not bagging on GM for having provided one of the first useful technology to track cars, unlock
cars, and all the bit-bang features that they have been able to do. It’s just that they have not
been able to predict the future which is bluetooth headset enabled phones and all the GPS tracking

Here’s a comment from engadget that I do agree with:

On Star is ridiculous. They are very limited in providing help. My car came with a free 6 month trial but I didn’t bother renewing. You can sign up for a real Personal Assistant or Concierge Service and pay much less. I call my PA and have them do anything and everything for me. This company never advertises on t.v., they rely on word of mouth so I’m doing my part, check them out – Cheers, Jen

6 Responses to Useful technology, overpriced – OnStar for GM, Chevy vehicles

  1. garrett says:

    The Onstar GPS module is supposed to be a pretty standard NMEA device and easy to hack. Actually, here’s the link:

  2. Laxmi says:

    You had mentioned that it is easy to hack the Onstar GPS module. Is it easy the same way to swap out the Analog to Digital module on those Acura. Audi etc etc….Please let me know. Thanks

  3. Lee says:

    I currently have a GM Vehicle and utilize Onstar services and I am a little confused about Jens comments on utilizing redbutler, they are the ones who are overpriced. They do not offer incoming call noe turn by turn directions and they say nothing about help if your airbags are deployed or if you need medical services. I also didn’t see where they offer anything that you couldn’t get with a vehicle diagnostic report emailed to you every month letting you know the status of your vehicle. I think that I will stick with what I know works. another thing is the onstar phone service, it is integrated into your satelite antenna and will work in places that some cell phones do not or where there is a lack of cell towers, so for you folk who think that bluetooth is the answer tell me how you use it when there is no signal? I can still use my onstar phone. Please know the facts before bashing a tested and proven system. Lee

  4. jacob says:

    I agree that Onstar is a valuable, expensive service. So I’m really pleased with the my-911 phone app- it turns out, your phone can handle most of the same features as Onstar

  5. Anonymous says:

    Unless there is something brand new I don’t know about, Onstar relies on cell towers. There is no way that it transmits to satellites. The satellite link is only one way (downlink) and only GPS. Maybe it uses a larger variety of carriers than usual phone service and maybe not. I don’t know because GM keeps the inner workings of Onstar obscure.

    Having said that, I used Onstar several times to report accidents and check on traffic and it always worked flawlessly and reasonably quickly and the operators seemed polite and competent.

  6. Anonymous says:

    And I might add that navigation data on a heads up display (HUD) seems useful though only marginally more so than the same info in greater detail on a bright high definition display near your line of sight. Anyway, HUD’s are fun. You can pretend your car is a jet fighter when you get bored in traffic. Just don’t try to climb out on afterburner.

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