Last week, rumors were swirling around a potential partnership between General Motors and Google to develop an Android-based telematics system. On the eve of Google's I/O conference, GM made an official announcement about its actual plans for the Android OS, a version 2.0 of the Android version of its OnStar Mobile app for Chevrolet Volt that will feature Google Maps integration.
Essentially, what GM will be doing is adding a "navigation" tab to the Android version of the OnStar app that allows users to see their current location and the location of a connected Chevrolet Volt on Google Maps. With the vehicle located, the user can then get Google Maps directions to the Volt on their handset. Users will also be able to use Google's Voice Search to find and send destinations to the paired Volt, where OnStar turn-by-turn directions will take over in-car navigation duties.
Although demonstration versions of the Chevrolet Volt mobile app are available in the Android Market, the iTunes App Store, and for Blackberry devices, a working 1.0 version of the app has yet to be released (probably because the Volt itself is still awaiting release). Additionally, the new Google Maps integration and functionalities touted by GM won't be available at the app's launch, so this news of Android-specific features in the version 2.0 is a serious bit of foreshadowing on GM and OnStar's part.
"While OnStar will never lose sight of our core focus on safety and security, this relationship is an example of how we're evolving our leadership position in connected vehicle technology," said Chris Preuss, OnStar president. "What we're talking about today is only the beginning."
GM and OnStar will debut and demonstrate new Google Maps functionalities of the Chevrolet Volt mobile app for Android at the Google I/O conference May 19-20 in San Francisco, CA.