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OnStar In Expansive Mood At CES

1/09/2012 03:11:01 PM Eastern
Las Vegas - GM's OnStar subsidiary is in an expansive mood at International CES, where the company said it plans to expand distribution of its aftermarket For My Vehicle (FMV) product and open up its OnStar application programming interface (API) to third-party developers to create new types of OnStar services for GM vehicles.

In the spring, OnStar will announce expanded distribution of OnStar FMV to more retail outlets and to B-to-B channels such as fleets, OnStar president Linda Marshall told the Official CES Daily.

OnStar FMV takes the shape of a rearview mirror and delivers all of OnStar's core subscription-based telematics services to drivers of cars not made by GM. The device is available at a suggested $299 in 2,200 retail outlets, including independent 12-volt retailers and 1,100 Best Buy stores.

Through these channels, FMV sales have met expectations since a soft launch in mid-September and ensuing holiday ramp up, Marshall said. More than 20,000 consumers have purchased the device, she said.

 An FMV holiday rebate of $100 has ended, but a new promotion that will replace it will start soon, she added.

As for the OEM version of OnStar for GM vehicles, the company will release its API to third-party developers in the spring to spur the developments of new types of OnStar services that consumers could access via smartphone apps or PCs, said Nick Pudar, OnStar's planning and business development VP.

 OnStar has already shared its API with peer-to-peer car-sharing service RelayRides, which is close to finalizing a smartphone app. RelayRides, available in select markets, lets people rent out their vehicles to other people on a short-term basis when the vehicles aren't being used. With the app, a renter would be able to locate a vehicle available for sharing, thanks to OnStar's GPS-enabled vehicle-location service. The renter could then use the app to unlock the car's doors via OnStar's service to get to the keys inside the glovebox. OnStar is also considering the possibility of letting renters use the app to remotely start the car via OnStar's service and drive away without the keys in the ignition, Pudar said.

The RelayRides app will be available early this year, said RelayRides founder Shelby Clark.

A currently available OnStar app called RemoteLink, launched last year for iPhones and Android phones, connects users to GM's OnStar service to activate all vehicle functions currently available on a traditional key fob, including remote start, horn honking, lights activation, and door locking and unlocking. Other services are also available through the app.

More than 250,000 OnStar users have downloaded the app since it became available a year ago, said Pudar.

OnStar will make a RemoteLink app available on another smartphone platform in two months, a spokesman noted.
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