General Motors recently announced that they will be entering into an agreement with AT&T to have built in cellular data service on most of its models starting in 2015. GM’s current CEO and Chairman of the Board, Daniel Akerson, who is a former telecommunications executive, has long been a proponent of these type services.
The multi-year agreement calls for AT&T to enable millions of GM cars with 4G LTE mobile internet access. This could potentially offer enough bandwidth for all kinds of services including streaming audio, web access, and even live video. It could truly give new meaning to the term “mobile office.” These services would be offered through On-Star, which is a subsidiary of GM. The service would also integrate into the vehicles’ operating systems and allow drivers more efficient monitoring of their vehicle’s safety, security, and diagnostics to ensure optimal performance.
GM recently sponsored an event in Las Vegas, NV where they introduced a new set of vehicle application programming interfaces (APIs), a set of protocols typically released by hardware developers like Apple and Google allowing third party developers to create applications for that hardware. GM hopes that these APIs will enable developers to build apps primarily for their vehicles’ “infotainment” systems.  You will soon have all the entertainment you could ever want even more readily available than it already is. Are you really into the new episode of Real Housewives of Topeka? Well, the service will allow you to start TV shows at home and then continue where you left off in the car, for example, via Netflix. So now you can speed-watch the new season of Arrested Development while being arrested for speeding in a development.
In order to offset some of the initial manufacturing costs, GM is considering selling internet ads on its dashboards. So while checking the score to the big game in the car, you will get those continuous interruptions for some University nobody has heard of like we currently love hearing through Pandora.
Of course this service would come with a “reasonable” monthly fee, because all of us definitely do not have enough of those in our lives. The details are still being worked out, but GM will receive $20 per connected subscriber from AT&T along with a share of the revenue.
One of the big challenges to this will be marketing this effectively and generating the right level of demand. There is a wealth of devices capable of providing all these same services that are most likely already in your pockets and in your car. Furthermore, critics have also raised concerns that this service will increase driver distraction, which has increasingly become a big issue as web access and streaming continues to be more readily available. But honestly, what does safety have to do with catching the finale of Toddlers in Tiaras?
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Nick Haneiko

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