Rumored changes to GM's OnStar system were confirmed recently by OnStar's president, Chris Preuss. Among the many enhancements and innovations planned for the pioneering telematics operation under its far-reaching "Responsible Connectivity" initiative that coincides with the release of its Gen 9.0 hardware are a host of new social media/voice-texting capabilities and the creation of an OnStar MyLink sub-brand for smart phone applications for Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. Also part of this recasting process is a new emphasis on exploiting the potential for future "open" development.

"These initiatives are all about OnStar's role in keeping drivers and passengers connected and safe," said Preuss. "Building on the rock-solid foundation of OnStar's safety and security platform, we were given a clear directive to develop OnStar as one of the chief pillars in defining General Motors' business going forward. We've created a long-term vision that includes new in-vehicle hardware, an all-new IT infrastructure and a host of new partnerships and services that provide the basis for growth."

Although Pruess noted that specific features are still undergoing development, the implementation of OnStar's new Advanced Telematics Operations Management System (ATOMS) computing platform and 9.0 hardware has given rise to the capability of permitting voice-activated updating of a user's Facebook status as well as Bluetooth-abetted SMS (short message service) voice texting. The introduction of OnStar MyLink opens the door for any number of useful downloadable applications for select smart phones, several of which have already been shown for the Chevrolet Cruze and Volt models.

Finally, the OnStar has committed to a program specifically dedicated to encouraging students at various universities across the country to design the next generation of voice-based technology. Full details about the OnStar Developers Challenge can be found at .

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