Three Years Later, GM Answers Sync’s Call
Three years after Ford made itself the leader in vehicle connectivity with Sync, General Motors has answered the call with MyLink.
The system builds upon GM’s excellent if limited OnStar to provide text messaging, e-mail and traffic advisories in addition to online services like Pandora and Stitcher. Like Sync, the General’s system links the driver’s cell phone to the vehicle’s voice-recognition software, audio system and navi for fully integrated infotainment.
General Motors pioneered in-car telematics when it unveiled OnStar in 1996, but it has lost ground to Ford’s Sync as the market for in-car connectivity has grown. Ford has consistently updated and expanded Sync, forcing Toyota, Hyundai and others to play catch up.
GM boss Dan Ackerson, who has a background in communications, has made improving vehicle electronic systems a priority. MyLink follows GM’s unveiling of a gadget that makes OnStar available to the 20 most popular vehicles, including the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
MyLink will be offered on the Chevrolet Volt (of course) and Equinox models later this year and expand to other models in 2012. No word yet whether it will be standard equipment or an added-cost option.
For all of its success, Sync has not been infallible. Consumer Reports called the latest iteration, MyFord Touch, “a complicated distraction when driving.” The safety of such systems has become a hot-button issue, one getting a lot of attention from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Still, General Motors doesn’t think MyLink will be distracting. The system uses a seven-inch LCD screen that GM claims is easier to navigate than Sync’s screen, and it retains the control knobs consumers are used to. MyFord Touch, on the other hand, places all of the controls on the screen. GM also claims its voice recognition software is superior to Ford’s.
Photo: Emile Wamsteker / Chevrolet. Micky Bly, executive director of GM global vehicle engineering, unveils MyLink in New York.