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.
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?
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.