The Anti-Bluetooth Monster is growing!

GM have just announced that OnStar is coming to China.

It’s the first move outside of North America since the service started 11 years ago.

Shanghai OnStar Telematics expects to begin rolling out its services in 2009, initially for vehicles manufactured and distributed in China by Shanghai GM.

“We are pleased to bring OnStar to Asia for the first time through Shanghai OnStar Telematics,” said OnStar President Chet Huber. “China represents a huge opportunity to bring the safety, security, and societal benefits of OnStar to a whole new audience – Shanghai GM customers. This new venture builds upon our leading position in North America and the lessons from our more than 83 million customer interactions. In China, we will provide cutting-edge services specifically developed in accordance with the needs of Shanghai GM and its customers.”

OnStar is, of course, the main reason why Saab’s in North America can’t get properly integrated Bluetooth like their European counterparts. This is due to the hands-free dialling available with OnStar in concert with a compulsory phone service where you have to sign up with OnStar’s preferred phone provider.

There is a 3rd party Bluetooth solution promoted by Saab, a Motorola unit, but integration would by far be the better way to go and is the preferred method of in-car phone service for just about 100% of readers here. The good news is that integrated Bluetooth will be coming in the future – hopefully sooner rather than later (I’d expect it in the new 9-5).

OnStar does have some valuable services, but they shouldn’t be at the exclusion of a feature that everybody wants. Especially if it’s ffered widely by competitors.

I hope the technologically advancing Chinese aren’t too attached to their Bluetooth phones.

And how long before OnStar Europe hits the airwaves???

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  1. Actually, China is not the first place outside USA to get the Onstar service. In the late 1990s/early 2000s, Opel tried to sell it in Germany as well, but by the sight of things, it didn’t work… I think they dropped it with the introduction of the current model in 2003.

  2. The problem with Saab’s implementation of OnStar is that it’s short on features. The features available through OnStar in other GM vehicles aren’t necessarily available in a Saab. It should be called “OnStar Lite” and the subscription cost should be less than with full OnStar.

    Interesting news I just saw on the television news which may have OnStar implications:
    Verizon Wireless, the mobile network provider OnStar uses has announced that they will be “opening their network” to subscribers to other wireless service providers, providing that their handset is technically capable. The other U.S. network providers subsequently announced they’d be doing the same.

    So I assume this means if you subscribe to AT&T Wireless or T-Mobile (both use GSM) and you were to get a phone in the future which has hardware capable of using either a GSM or CDMA (as Verizon uses) you could use the Verizon network.

    So could future OnStar units be capable of using either Verizon’s CDMA network or AT&T, Sprint/Nextel, or T-Mobile’s GSM network?

  3. Just remember, there is no technical limitation to integrated bluetooth and OnStar co-existing – I’m pretty sure Acura has it in the RL.

    It is why GM will eventually be bankrupt. They put short term gains (money for OnStar) over long term gains (cars sold because they are up to date on the latest technology).

    If the new 9-5 does not offer integrated Bluetooth (not some overpriced aftermarket kit velcro-ed to the dash) then I give up.

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