Buick Adds OnStar 4G LTE to 2015 Models – PC Magazine
Buick announced at the DENT Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho today that most of the automaker’s 2015 models will have OnStar 4G LTE as an option.
On cars so equipped, passengers can connect to a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot for streaming movies, browsing the Web, playing games, and checking email on up to seven devices simultaneously, either while driving or at rest stops.
The 2015 Buick LaCrosse (2014 interior pictured above), Regal, Verano, and Encore will come standard with LTE hardware—but you’ll still need to pony up for a data package to activate it.
Each car will also come with access to Buick AppShop, which is part of parent company General Motors’s IntelliLink service for downloading apps and streaming Internet radio through the in-dash interface. The final app lineup is still in flux, but it looks like we’ll see Slacker Radio, NPR, iHeartRadio, Priceline, The Weather Channel, Cityseeker, Eventseeker, Glympse, and Kaliki to start with, and more will follow soon.
Each car will also come with a Vehicle Health app for in-car diagnostics and scheduling maintenance appointments, while OnStar RemoteLink Key Fob Services let owners unlock the doors, turn on the lights and horn, and remotely start the car from a smartphone app. This is another paid service, though; five years are included for free.
The recent move by several automakers to standard cellular modems in cars is a marked shift from the thinking just one or two years ago, when the industry thought consumers would rather pay just once for their smartphone plan and then leverage that connection in the car. But it also brings benefits, including smoother in-dash app integration and connected diagnostics. It remains to be seen how many people take GM up on its data plan offers.
Buick said that by 2016, every single model will include LTE support. There’s still no word on how much the individual data packages will cost, although existing AT&T owners will be able to add the car to an existing data bucket-equipped plan.
Last year, Chevrolet (another GM brand) was the first manufacturer to announce in-car 4G LTE connectivity.