Fowle was fresh from attending Google I/O and already had a Android Wear watch ready to program for future use. The RemoteLink app on smartphones allows the GM driver to remotely start the car, unlock/lock doors, monitor fuel/oil, check tire pressure, beep horn, turn on headlights, connect to help and find the car. The functions on the Galaxy Gear have been streamlined to a few of the most important functions including door lock, horn honking and remote start. In the video, you can see how simple it is to use. Tap the icon for door unlocking and locking and the doors unlock or lock. The demo was inside a Cadillac ATS.
GM has committed to these basic features for the smartwatch app’s first release by the end of this year.
“We have as many OnStar RemoteLink app connections with smartphones as blue OnStar button connections in GM cars,” said Fowle who noted that there are 4.5 million RemoteLink app users per month.
The smartwatch app sends information to a Samsung Galaxy smartphone through Bluetooth, the requests are sent over a data connection and then received through the OnStar antenna in GM cars. In models before 2015 the data connection is 2G while starting with 2015 models there will be 4G LTE connections.
During the Polar Vortex, earlier this year around 20,000 GM car owners were using the OnStar RemoteLink app start feature, every hour. It is a very popular feature.
The 4G LTE Chevy Malibu and Impala are already on sale with 4G LTE noted Fowle who said a couple of hundred have already been sold. 4G LTE will come standard on most consumer GM cars including the $12,000 Chevy Spark. 4G LTE will work in 2015 GM cars that don’t have a large touchscreen or navigation system. After the Audi A3 this is the first major deployment of 4G LTE in vehicles in the United States.
For those of you who don’t know what REACH is it’s a series of events that begin with a tech panel and end with free vodka cocktails, frozen nitrogen ice cream and short rib tacos. It was quite a wild mix of people who were ogling, new tech, two Cadillacs and each other.