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
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
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.