Chevrolet Adding Bluetooth Stereo, Pandora

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New York - Chevrolet unveiled plans for a Chevy MyLink infotainment system that will incorporate head-unit control of Pandora and StitcherSmart Radio apps on smartphones.

The apps will be controlled via Bluetooth from the head unit's 7-inch full-color touchscreen and via voice commands relayed by the head unit to the apps.

The Chevy MyLink system also adds Bluetooth stereo streaming from Bluetooth audio devices, building on the voice-activated Bluetooth hands-free calling already offered in most Chevy vehicles, the company said.

In another upgrade, Chevy's USB ports get the additional capability accepting USB flash memory sticks that will add approved applications to MyLink systems.

Chevrolet MyLink will be available in the fall in the 2012 Chevrolet Volt and Equinox and will roll out to other Chevy vehicles over the next 18 months.

Bluetooth stereo streaming and Pandora control are already offered in many aftermarket head units.

Like previous Chevy infotainment systems, MyLink will feature AM/FM/XM tuners, MP3-CD player, and auxiliary and USB inputs with voice control. The new system, however, will feature improved voice control, the company said.

 "There is a new generation of car buyers who don't want to settle for mass market radio," said Rick Scheidt, Chevrolet marketing VP.  "They want to create their own individual stations and have access to them wherever they are."  Pandora, for example, lets users create personalized Internet radio stations, and Stitcher SmartRadio lets users access Internet news and podcasts.

Also in the works is integration of the


charging system, the company said. The system charges multiple mobile devices wirelessly when they're placed on a charging mat, eliminating the need for separate charging cords for each device.

The MyLink announcement follows

last September's announcement

that GM's OnStar subsidiary was launching ninth-generation hardware that adds social-networking, text-to-voice reading of text messages from a Bluetooth-equipped cellphone, improved voice recognition and navigation, and a variety of other features. The subsidiary at the time also announced plans to offer iPhone and Android apps for Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC vehicles under the OnStar MyLink sub-brand to remotely activate such vehicle functions as remote start, horn and lights, and door locking/unlocking.

 Chevrolet's announcement also comes on the heels of Toyota's International CES launch of its


infotainment system, which also features voice control and enables head-unit control via Bluetooth of Entune-enabled Pandora and iHeartradio Internet-radio apps and other Entune-enabled cellphone apps such as the Bing search engine.

For its MyLink system, Chevrolet upgraded its hands-free voice control system with


technology that lets drivers speak commands in a more natural way rather than use specific commands that they must commit to memory. Once drivers tap of a steering-wheel button, they can speak intuitive verbal commands such as "play (artist name)" from songs stored on a smartphone or MP3 player or "call (name of contact)," the company explained. The new system also adds Gracenote technology, which identifies music on the driver's smartphone or MP3 player and displays artist name, genres and album cover art on the MyLink screen. It also enables users to select similar music to a song that's playing.

 Gracenote also improves the accuracy of MyLink's voice activation system by letting people use artists' nicknames to sort songs, Chevrolet said.


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