Probably because OnStar was originally not a GM product. They bought it
when the folks at OnStar convinced GM that it was a good system to have
and a lot of car buyers decided they were correct. When it was developed
they used analog for the difference in coverage. Digital coverage was
only available in limited areas and didn't have the infrastructure to
support the OnStar equipment. The coverage problem is still something
that they have to contend with, some areas just are not profitable for
companies to drop a tower so you have holes.
You must live in an area near a city if you think that analog was
obsolete in 2001. At that time in NY if you had a digital only phone you
would find that you had coverage only around the larger markets and on
the interstates. NONE in between. With analog you had coverage in those
areas as well as in the non digital areas.
In the vehicles which don't have all the additional services, an upgrade
should not be very hard, you would have to replace the antenna and the
transceiver unit and get that system activated with OnStar but it
shouldn't be that hard. After all the transceiver is nothing more than a
cell unit with integrated GPS.
The complaint I have with OnStar will come about in 2007, ALL GM
vehicles will have OnStar standard. I don't want it on a vehicle I own.
I went looking for another used vehicle for snow use and found a
really nice 2004 TrailBlazer for a great price. Two things killed the
deal. One was the auto 4X4 it had and the other was OnStar. I still may
buy it and strip out the OnStar crap.
They should? I don't think so. You bought a product and you got what you
paid for. The company - no company is responsible to make sure you get what
you want out of a product indefinitely. Technology advances and old
technologies are obsoleted. That's just the way of the world. GM owes you
no such upgrade path.
I don't like the idea of three non-functional buttons on the dash, and a
bunch of useless electronic equipment taking up space and weight inside the
car, because the company cannot come up with an upgrade path. Even my
Alpine navigation unit or XM radio is unlikely to "expire" anytime soon. I
have never seen anything like this OnStar debacle.
OK, I can pull the 8-track out and put in a CD.
And even to the end, there was no 'dead date' for 8-track. (Although the
music industry would love that for CDs. Not the players, the media!)
Analog WAS outdated in 2001. Even before that date, analog was on
it's way out. Yes, they still built analog equipment, but there was almost
no new SUPPORT for analog.
Such is the nature of technology Mike. Cellular technology in particular.
Virtually every cell carrier has announced drop dead dates for analog. They
kept it alive until they could build out the infrastructure for digital and
then allowed it to go away. None of those cell carriers offer you any form
of upgrade path other than to buy into the new technology. Again - such is
the way of technology. I know that it is frustrating to lose a
functionality and to feel that you don't want to replace a car you like
simply because something like OnStar no longer works, but... (ain't there
always a but...), it's life. I can understand your frustration. The part I
can't get behind is your feeling that GM owes you something.
Oh, GM doesn't owe me anything. I don't have OnStar in my vehicles.
I just find it incredible the attitude that GM took with the 'system
kind of thing. I was serious when I compared it to Ford and the tiff with
add on radios years ago.
I don't remember saying that GM "owes" me anything, but I do know that if
they don't provide an upgrade path I will be quite disappointed with the
brand... it just comes across as sloppy engineering or design management...
a car's SAFETY feature is not supposed to expire without an upgrade path.
By the way, I am a longtime GM customer, I have only owned GM vehicles since
the 1980s. I've always been the cheerleader for GM products but this OnStar
debacle is kind of irritating.
You didn't come out and say it, but you more than implied that GM owes you
something - an upgrade at the very least. A lot has been posted here
regarding OnStar and the various implementations of it. I guess it's up to
the individual to decide what he/she wants to call all of that. But - the
point could be made that (as you have already made clear) you knew you were
buying a dead end, "obsolete" technology when you bought your car with
OnStar. There were other OnStar technologies either available or announced
when your was on the way out. Seems kind of late to be pitching a bitch
about a technology at this point.
Why the caps on the word "SAFETY" above? That alone makes it clear you are
trying to emphasize a point in attempt to bolster your case. OnStar is an
adjunct. It does nothing for "SAFETY". It's a convenience. Anything you
can say about OnStar as a "SAFETY" component can equally be said of a cell
phone. If the "SAFETY" aspects of OnStar are really important, then make
sure you have a cell phone and you're all set.
I really do believe it is a safety and security feature that I'm losing in
Jan 2008. If you get in a head-on crash and the air bag deploys on a remote
rural road, you may not be conscious to dial a cell phone. On the other
hand OnStar would automatically call for help. There are a number of news
stories recently speculating on whether a system like OnStar would have
helped James Kim lost in the Oregon Wildnerness (probably not, but searchers
detected a cell phone ping and even erected a temporary cell tower near the
location). Another news story in the past couple days described how a
carjacker was tracked down and caught using OnStar. If you are in danger
and you don't know your location (or don't really have time to describe it
to the 911 operator) the OnStar system can pinpoint where you are and send
for help with the push of one button. If your car is carjacked with your
baby in the back seat, OnStar will help the cops find it fast. Or even if
it is stolen and you've got valuables inside worth more than what the
insurance company will pay, it's worthwhile to use OnStar to recover the
stolen vehicle and put the bad guys in jail. The examples are endless. So
yes, it is all about safety and security.
If it makes you feel more secure in those thoughts, then I'd agree it's a
security feature - your personal sense of security. But, there are still so
many areas around the country - especially in those remote rural areas,
where cell signals are weak to non-existant, so I just could not place a lot
of value in the added security that it *might* be helpful if I was involved
in an accident that had all of the specific requirements such as above. I
guess it comes down to my belief that you can create specifics enough to
justify anything you want but really - it's all about what you want. So,
given that you really like OnStar and want to believe it is a true safety
and security value for you (which is fine), then I believe you'll just have
to embrace the notion of keeping up with the technology. Sucks in a way
maybe, but that's just the way it is. Maybe with enough uproar from analog
users GM will come out with some reduced price, one-time offer to swap out
units for you guys.
So - for all that the news folk's (who love to speculate and build things
up) hype, if the cell phone didn't help Kim, how would OnStar? It's the
I'm sure there was. OnStar can indeed work and provide some usefulness. I
don't deny what OnStar can do - but this is a convenience in my opinion.
Yes, and a bigger gun can be helpful as well. Really - there is a lot of
"if you are... OnStar *may* be able..." stuff in scenarios like this. It's
easy to create scenarios where anything from a bigger gun to OnStar to magic
disappearing powder could be helpful. But - those are not safety features
in a car. Safety features fall into a different category of responsibility
for the manufacturer. OnStar offers a lot of features, but most of them are
conveniences and the others are largely what-if scenarios contrived to make
OnStar appear more necessary in your life than it really is.
By the time you've got the insurance company involved, your car and your
valuables do not exist in any recognizable form.
I remember one time I was driving north on the 57 freeway in Brea, CA when a
truck changed lanes into a compact car's path, and the lady swerved out of
control, failing to properly counter-steer the skid, and spun around several
times hitting the center divider. It was right in front of me. I wanted to
report the location of the accident right away but there were no freeway
exits for a few miles and I didn't remember the last exit or landmark. Then
I realized I have OnStar and I just pushed the button and told the operator,
who summoned help to the scene based on my GPS position. Who knows if the
quick response and precise location could have helped someone who is
bleeding to death, in cardiac arrest, etc. Maybe this was the time when I
realized OnStar is not just a toy but it can really save lives just like
seatbelts and air bags.
My cell phone can do the same thing. It has a GPS tracker built into it. I
call 911, and they know exactly where I am. Yes, OnStar can be helpful, but
it all depends on what is going on. How many people have the OnStar system
in there vehicle, but don't use it?
It does have value to it, just not the value the folks at the OnStar pricing
office seem to have for it. Never renewed the service after the first free
year. Basic was $200, the extended price is $400. More than I'm willing to
pay for what I'd get. Half that, I'd do it.
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