Driven Tech Focus- Chevy MyLink

In the auto biz, you’re nothing these days unless you have a whiz-bang user interface.  BMW has iDrive, Audi sports MMI, Cadillac has CUE, well, you get the picture.

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Notice those are all premium brands.  The good news is features tend to trickle down from high-end vehicles.  Two of the least expensive cars on the road, Chevy Spark and Sonic now get MyLink.  Plug in a smartphone into the USB port (either Android or iPhone) and it gives both cars a brain boost.

Pandora and Stitcher are two apps that come installed.  Want a full-featured navigation system? Fork over $50 for the BringGo navigation app that replicates the functionality of a $1,500 navi system found in more expensive cars.

Obviously, streaming tunes and podcasts from Pandora and Stitcher will chew up your phone’s data usage but BringGo treads lightly.  Maps are stored in the phone’s memory so the only time you’ll use bytes is when you search for addresses, parking spots, gas prices, and a Starbucks fix.  But really?  You won’t just bump into one every five minutes?

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Like Chrysler’s Uconnect, MyLink’s touch screen interface is refreshingly simple and elegant.  Chevy says more apps can be added.

Coming to Spark and Sonic in early 2013 is a new feature for iPhone users- Siri with Eyes Free mode.  Push the talk button and make voice activated phone calls to anyone in your contacts, request specific songs, or ask for sports scores.  It’s even possible to listen to, compose, and send text messages.  This basic version of Siri keeps the iPhone’s screen from lighting up.  In short, it keeps drivers connected but not distracted.

6 Comments

  1. Toaster says:

    This is a great idea. Using the smartphone’s NAV on the larger dashboard display is one of those ‘Why didn’t they think of this before???’ type of ideas. It’s pure genius! I hope more manufacturers go this route in the future. Kudos GM!

    As an aside, Tom, this is a GREAT article. As an IT guy I *LOVE* technology in all forms, and I love seeing innovation in the auto sector. I hope you have these types of sidebar articles fairly often to spotlight new tech in the auto sector. Infotainment systems are the hot item right now, but I’d love to see stuff down the road featuring autonomous car research, as well as innovations on the mechanical side of things (like electric cars, newer hybrid tech, or engine innovations like SKYACTIV and GDI technologies).

  2. mx5er says:

    I don’t have a smartphone so in general, goes a navigation need a data connection (3G, 4G, LTE) to work? Or it’s all in the app that’s downloaded into the phone. Since (apart from Sprint and I believe T-Mobile is throttled) pretty much all data plans are capped and if the navigation app needs a data connection to work, then it could cost ya if you’re taking a long trip.

    Same thing with the music app such as Pandora. Too bad it’s all coming out now when data plans are capped these days.

    • TV says:

      From what I understand, much of the info that BringGo uses (maps, POIs) is on the phone. In other words it won’t use data the way Pandora does. It will use data when doing Google searches and checking traffic conditions but that’s not heavy lifting.

      To get away from using Pandora you can just fill up a USB jump drive with MP3s. I don’t care though, I’m grandfathered in to ATTs unlimited plan. I have not been throttled, even after going over 2 gigs.

  3. Crown Royal says:

    This is awesome! Now, if I could only get over the size of the actual car ….