Onstar

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It seems several people I know are really upset that GM won't be supporting older Onstar systems soon. They all claim to have gotten a letter from GM to that effect. What's the story with that? Seems odd
that a manufacturer won't support their own systems for the life of the vehicle, doesn't it?
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Technology moves on. TDMA Cell towers are going away. How many people that have older cars with the old onstar would pay thousands of dollars for a reengineered upgrade for their vehicles. There are probably very few people with that vintage car that are still paying for onstar.

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Woody wrote:

have engineered a simple "plug-&-play" unit swap process. Wouldn't they have?
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No, they were dumb enough to do the original design analog so don't expect them to have a way to upgrade it. From what I read, they thought the old analog based system was better.
As for a 2002 model, they think that is very old and you are the one that should upgrade.
So, what brand of car will you be buying nest time?
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You should call the GM dealership with your VIN. Some vehicles are both analog and digital, and an upgrade can be had.
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Some genius at GM made the decision to equip the cars with an analog system rather than the newest digital system. There won't be any support of the towers needed for it soon so GM is out of luck. Thus, any GM owner that used OnStar is out of luck. Personally, I never re-newed after the first "free" year when I bought the car in 2001. I thought it was over priced for what they offered.
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Google is your friend. This group has already gone through the Onstar bitch-fest. Look for the older posts and you will find all the info you could possibly want, and more.
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80 Knight wrote:

This is a illegitimate "bitch" I'd say though for the OnStar subscribers. It's hard to believe the system unit wouldn't have been designed for an easy upgrade or "swap-out" of some type. Well, I suppose GM looses the subscription business due to their lack of foresight.
I've known my neighbor for over 20 years and he has only bought GM vehicles over those years. He's so mad over this he said he is "done fooling with them any more". Way to go GM, lost another loyal one it seems! :-( The other sad part is he is responsible for fleet purchases at his place of work.
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The topic has been discussed in great detail.

When GM started the OnStar, Analog was in use in more parts then Digital was. If you wanted good signal all of the time, Analog was the way to go, so that's what they did. I have several analog cell phones lying around that won't work soon either, but I'm not bitching at Bell about it. GM doesn't make the rules, they just have to play by them.

The guy stops buying GM because his Onstar won't work anymore? Wow, what a dedicated customer. Did he stop buying Dodge's when he found out his cassette player wouldn't play CD's? Technology moves on, that's all there is too it. GM isn't the one who is making analog go away.
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On Wed, 07 Mar 2007 23:11:17 -0500, a rock fell the sky, hitting 80 Knight on the head, and inspiring the following:

Well, I'm pissed of at my truck, too!
I mean, the thing is only six months old with 10,000 miles and it had the nerve to get a flat tire. I don't care if the rod is almost an inch thic k. The truck should have not gone flat.
In an any case, my digital OnStar worked great and they were able to disp atch a repair truck to change my flat.
But I am NOT buying a GM again this month!
--
kai
www.perfectreign.com || www.4thedadz.com
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Well - I'm even more pissed. I've been a faithful GM customer for decades and every stinkin' one of the GM products I've ever bought has used up all the gas that came in it. If I hadn't been on the ball and put some in myself before disaster struck, I could have been stranded in some god-forsaken place. Talk about a safety issue...
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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On Thu, 08 Mar 2007 17:04:35 -0500, a rock fell the sky, hitting Mike Marlow on the head, and inspiring the following:

You have that problem, too??
Man, on the way to work this morning my DIC came on and told me I was out of the stuff. I called OnStar and they just told me where to get more.
Cost a fortune, too! It was something like $2.80 a gallon at Costco.
I think there should be a recall.
--
k

a turn signal is a statement
not a request
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80 Knight wrote:

As you stated earlier...understood.

The wireless carriers offer upgrades to the newer technology for a reasonable price (or free, in some cases). Heck,one can even keep the same phone number...imagine that! ;-) Your example doesn't seem to be a very good one since an upgrade isn't offered in the case of OnStar (for any price). However your example does underscore the general norms out there in the marketplace that explains why customers would expect upgrade options since it is common practice to be offered technology upgrades elsewhere and with other cellular-based services.

I certainly agree! It's an extreme reaction. However it is a very real reaction that is likely being played out many thousands of times across the country. Sure, blame the customer for getting upset over this if you want to (seems like a sadly typical response that *should* change...but it doesn't!). The result ends up not to be a good one for GM no matter how it's "spun". GM is letting the customer down, plain and simple. Some percentage of the customer base will naturally be disappointed (a human reaction) and some of those will simply "move on" and "give up" trying to do their part to try and keep helping "The General" overcome their apparent ineptitude. Some people just get tired of being "burned" (as I've heard it put).

One would never expect a tape player of any car manufacturer to play CD's. It is a silly example as no one makes such a device. In any case, even in that example, one can upgrade the tape player to a CD player if one chooses. One can't upgrade the OnStar. As stated before, the market has already set the expectation that a service will continue working, or have the ability to upgrade, even at an additional cost. (just like both your mobile phone and tape player examples seem to prove my point over yours).

The eventual demise of analog cell service has been a known for probably 7-8 years now...perhaps longer. So that argument doesn't fly either. GM certainly knew and could/should have planned and engineered for this well known eventuality. Sadly GM looses as well in terms of lost subscriber revenue...so everyone looses out in this "deal"!
The bottom line is that the situation was unnecessary and within GM's control for years to remedy and the outcome can't be defended. It really isn't acceptable by any stretch of the imagination no mater how many "lame excuses" (actually *incredibly lame* excuses) one makes up. It's the "other guy's fault, not ours" excuse...please! This does fail the customer, plain and simple. Sad, very sad indeed!
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When I bought my 2001, GM certainly knew about digital. They stated that analog had more coverage. It was a calculated risk on their part. If we come out with a digital plan, we'll have less coverage, less renewals. If we make it analog, we get more complete coverage, making the system better for those that have it today and with some risk in the future.
GM is betting that most of the analog systems will be off the road soon and therefore, little or no bitching. It is a numbers game. They had the larger potential market 6 or 7 years ago with analog at the risk of a few people bitching in 2007. Meantime, digital became wider covered and they made the switch.
More than once when I had a persistent problem, the dealer and the GM solution was "why not trade in for a new model?" Don't expect them to spend a lot of money to convert the old systems.
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It seems inarguable that GM would or should have known about the demise of analog and could have taken this into their design of the OnStar units.
Although you can always say "let the buyer beware", GM has some responsibility in this, IMO.
I am also wondering if Sirius and XM are going to merge, or keep separate, or even go bankrupt. I enjoy my XM and want a dedicated receiver in my next car. I dont think there is much downside here, but Congress, terrestrial radio, and monetary losses of both these services make one suspect.
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My example applies. It isn't posible to upgrade an Analog phone to work with a Digital service. There's no special chip, or software. You simply have to buy a *new* (Digital) phone.

I disagree. I doubt there are that many people out there with Analog only OnStar who still bother to pay for the service.

Your friend is more then welcome to purchase whomever's vehicle brand he likes. However, if he is such a dedicated customer, I just think its a bad excuse to buy another brand just becuase his OnStar won't work anymore.

That is where you are incorrect. There is a difference between "upgrading" and "replacing". You can't "upgrade" a cassette deck to play CD's. You have to replace it with a CD deck.

I stand by my points.

And yet, if GM knew about it, and was worried about such a huge loss, why didn't they do anything about it? I have to assume they either weren't too worried, or didn't think it would happen as fast as it did.

I mean no offence to you, but like I said. Technology moves on. GM isn't the one who decided to get rid of Analog. At the time, Analog was the way to go to get the best service. Years ago, would you have been happy if GM had put in Digital, and told you it will only work in certain parts of the country, but it will be the standard in 7 years? I think not. People would have been pissed. My point is, people are upset no matter what anyone does. The only time I had an OnStar equipped car was in a rental, and I found it worrisome. I always thought someone could be listening to my conversations at anytime. Anyhow, like I said. I mean no offence to you, but people have to realize that technology moves on, and GM isn't the one who is making Analog go away.
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Many systems are cross compatible. In some industries it is mandated. It IS electronically possible, in most cases, I believe.

Our Buick radio plays CDs and tapes in one unit...If anyone had, or wanted to play, 8 tracks, adaptors are available.

We are talking about two different things and you know it, Knight...If a deck was not made to accept a particular type of medium, that is a physical and mechanical situation, not an electronic one. On an earlier Buick I had, the CD deck was indeed an adaptor, albeit an OEM one, to play CD media. Converting analog to digital signals, electronically, is no big deal.
The fact is that no adaptor exists because there is no money in it for the aftermarket. Not enough OnStar for anyone to be interested.
The trend toward linking equipment packages together so that nothing other than factory OEM will work or can be used is increasing. And, the American people, as slow to anger as they are and as brand loyal as they are, are not stupid.
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I agree. Most cell phones were Analog/Digital back in the day, but I still have a couple of Analog only phones laying around that will become useless.

An adaptor to make an 8-track work with a CD/cassette deck? There is something I can honestly say I have never seen. :-P

You are right. They are two different things, however, I still think it makes some sense. When GM was still putting Analog only OnStar systems in vehicles, did they know that in 2008 Analog would be completely gone? Did they know this 100%? If not, why would they start using Digital equipment when the Analog was more reliable?

I will admit, I am no wiz with cell phone electronics, but IMHO, if it was *that* easy to make an Analog only OnStar system work with a Digital system, the Aftermarket companies would be all over that like a fly on honey.

I think you got it exactly right there. Like I said above, if the Aftermarket companies thought there was even the slightest chance of making money, they would be all over making OnStar upgrades. The fact that they (and GM) aren't lends me to believe that most people with Analog only OnStar aren't really that concerned about it. It has been said here by several different people that many folks don't even renew the service after the 'free trial' anyhow.

That I will agree with. Try putting an aftermarket CD deck in a new car. You might just as well design the car around the new CD deck. But, this trait is hardly exclusive to GM.
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80 Knight wrote:

Mobile carriers use a replacement device/phone and call it an upgrade. Semantics, I suppose, by the "marketing types". Depending on the phone choice, there can be no cost to "upgrade".
Mobile device manufacturers produced dual-service phones 5-6+ years ago that would automatically switch between service types as necessary, by the way. Another option GM could have taken with OnStar and would have improved coverage even more.
The OnStar control unit/hardware could certainly have also been designed as a "replaceable" or "swappable" modular unit. More than likely it could have been designed as needing only a chip replacement or e-prom flash upgrade (or as I said, dual-service capable in the first place).
> I disagree. I doubt there are that many people out there with Analog only

I know quite a few personally. I believe there are more than you're wanting to believe. I see a *lot* of 2002 and earlier OnStar equipped GM's still on the road (lord I hope so!)
> Your friend is more then welcome to purchase whomever's vehicle brand he

And that's been GM's "shining" position (apparently) and it's dwindling market share of late underscores the result of that type of attitude.

Twenty years I've known him (and I'm told his family decades before I knew him) were nearly exclusive GM purchases. One can't question the personal dedication to the brand after many decades, in my view.
The reaction is still a reality that is being playing out many thousands of times. That impacts GM's credibility and the bottom line, regardless if any single person thinks it is a poor excuse.
His wife is the most upset (it's the car she drives the most). She uses the OnStar service quite often (so she says).

Semantics. However some units will work with add-on OEM devices (a bit cumbersome to use perhaps). I can play my MP3 player through the tape deck by using a cassette interface, for example. My son plays CD's through his tape deck using the same adapter.

Nor I, just difference of opinion and difference in perception of observation.

I don't understand the point. Of course that is true for that point in time. But the consumer market is accustomed to and therefor expects a viable upgrade path as technology changes. They don't expect to be left out in the cold with no options when it changes.

True, but the system could have been designed to be dual-service capable or upgradeable/replaceable. This is not rocket science.

Uhm, they *are* pissed.

No argument from me on that one! ;-) But this is one occasion that was easily avoidable.
> The only time I

I would say that your particular preferences are clouding your perception and understanding as to the degree of importance some customers place in having the service, since it isn't something you personally appreciate, need or desire.

People understand perfectly! The old manufacturing tactic of "planned obsolescence" to force someone out of their current product went out of fashion 20-30 years ago. People understand what is going on and haven't accepted that premise for a very long time. GM apparently doesn't "get it" (after 20+ years?), especially since they used such poor "tact" as taking this "obsolescence" oopportunity to offer my neighbor $500 to buy a new car (since his OnStar will no longer work in the old one). Please, how gullible does GM think their customer base is anyway?
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That is true, but the fact is you are replacing the phone. You aren't taking the phone in for new programming or something, getting it back, and having it work with Digital. You are giving them the current phone, and they are giving you a totally different one. It would be like trading in your 1999 GMC for an '07 (...you get my point).

Very true.

GM actually did take that route. As far as I can recall, most GM vehicles made after 2004 were Analog/Digital, and could work on both networks.

I honestly can't say as to how much the OnStar is integrated into the car, but I find it highly unlikely it could have just been swapped out for a new one. Plus, like I have said, we don't know at which point GM knew 100% that Analog was going to be totally phased out.

No offence, but just because the vehicle has OnStar, doesn't mean the owner still uses the service. My family buys GM, and only GM, and I can't think of any who use OnStar. Most have a cell phone, and that's good enough for them.

It's a free world. If you want to go buy a car made in Japan, go ahead. But, doing it only because your OnStar stopped working doesn't make much sense. Do the Imports even offer anything like OnStar?

I just don't personally think it's *that* big of a deal. If I were to see that even 80% of people with OnStar equipped vehicles with Analog only were still using the service, then I would think it a much bigger deal. That, however, begs the question, if OnStar is so popular, and so many people with Analog only want to convert, why aren't the Aftermarket companies trying to devise an alternative?

I can agree with that point there, but where did your son get the adapter? Probably RCA, or some such company. Like I said, if there is such a demand for Analog only OnStar systems to be converted into Digital, why aren't the aftermarket's doing it?

:)
The point is, at the time, Analog had the best service area. If you wanted to get a signal most anywhere, Analog was the way to go.

I also don't think customers expected Analog to be phased out completely.

Like I said, they eventually were.

:-P
Perhaps, but I do think some people overplay OnStar. Some think they couldn't possibly leave the house not knowing the system was working, and that there very existance depends on it. Let's get real here. It's a cell phone built into the car. You make calls on it. Some even notify 911 if your air-bag should deploy. Some even have a GPS transmitter built in, so 911 can find you. So does my cell phone. The only thing my cell won't do is call if my air-bag goes off.

No offence towards your neighbor, but GM didn't *have* to do anything. Hell, my '96 Bonnie could blow up right now, throwing parts all over the place, and GM would give me the finger. If your friend is so determined to use his OnStar, perhaps he should take up GM's offer.
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