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GM opening cars up for app development

LAS VEGAS--On the same day that Ford announced its Sync AppLink developer program, GM came out with its own take, announcing it would make APIs and other resources available so developers can build apps for the car.

GM announced a new Web site, http://developer.gm.com/, where developers will be able to download the SDK for its new app framework. It also demonstrated integration with iHeart Radio, TuneIn, Slacker, and The Weather Channel on the new framework.

GM plans on offering the new framework in some 2014 model year vehicles, which could come out as early as this summer. … Read more

GM sponsors connected car hackathon ahead of CES 2013

Steve Ballmer famously chanted "Developers, developers, developers!" in 2000, and automakers have finally heard the call. GM will take part in AT&T's Developer Summit Hackathon this weekend, sponsoring a new Connected Car Challenge.

Developers at the Hackathon will have from noon Saturday until 2 p.m. Sunday to build their apps. Winners will be announced at 6 p.m. on Sunday, and some finalists will be selected to pitch their apps on stage during the Summit's keynote addresses on Monday.

AT&T says there will be more than $100,000 in cash and … Read more

Take control of your car's tech with these six apps

OK, so you you can't remotely drive a BMW with a phone like James Bond does in "Tomorrow Never Dies," but there are plenty of real apps that will let you take control of your car and its tech with little more than your smartphone and a data connection. From beaming destinations to your Toyota's navigation system with Entune to remotely unlocking your doors with GM's OnStar RemoteLink, we've rounded up a few of the best car-controlling apps. … Read more

GM extends EV drivability with apps

With current technology, GM can't give its upcoming Spark EV more range, but its OnStar division is giving drivers the tools to deal with limited driving range. A new feature of OnStar's RemoteLink Mobile app will let drivers plan trips based on charging-station availability along a route.

Volt owners use the RemoteLink Mobile app to program charging times remotely. OnStar will add the new Waypoint tab in anticipation of next year's launch of the Spark EV. When a driver enters a destination, the Waypoint feature will plot a route incorporating necessary charging-station stops.

Given that the Spark … Read more

Episode 18: The Galaxy Note 2 and a ThinkPad torture test

When Samsung debuted the Galaxy Note last year at CES, the phone met with, well, a mountain of mockery.

It was inexplicably huge, it came with a stylus, hallmark of the hopelessly unhip, and worse, pundits took to calling it a "phablet" -- half phone, half tablet. It appeared to be a product in search of a market it could never, ever hope to find.

We were wrong. The Note found a following, and Samsung reportedly sold 20 million of the funny little things. That's pretty good for a tweener device with no known purpose.

And here … Read more

Less is more with the new-generation Chevrolet MyLink system

You may already be familiar with the maxim, "Less is more." Clearly the infotainment engineers over at General Motors are, because it seems that they've taken this approach to designing the dashboard of the 2013 Chevrolet Spark LT.

There are only four buttons for volume up and down, power, and home below the 7-inch touch screen. There are only three knobs for the basic climate control system. There isn't even a CD player -- GM's betting that you probably won't even notice that last bit, because its target market carries music around on phones … Read more

GM clothes homeless in extra auto material

Interesting news out of Detroit, General Motors donates leftover sound absorbing material to be turned into warm weather clothing for the city's homeless.

In total, GM has given over 2,000 lbs of unused and leftover materials to the Empowerment Plan, a Detroit-based nonprofit aimed at providing the homeless of that city a job with pay, and a coat. A coat, that in this case, is not only self-heating, waterproof, and transforms into a sleeping bag, but is also made from material donated by GM. In one of the coldest cities in the United States, a coat can go … Read more

Five hybrid cars: The newest gas-electric fuel-sippers

Hybrid drive systems in modern cars store what would otherwise be wasted kinetic energy from braking, making it available to supplement the work of the gasoline engine. These hybrid cars get much better fuel economy than their gasoline-only equivalents, and, due to regenerative braking, reduce brake pad wear. Although the Prius is the hybrid poster car, many other types of hybrid cars exist today, meeting the American buyers' variety of needs.

Here are five of the latest hybrids hitting the market. … Read more

GM cancels future hybrid truck and SUV models

According to a report at GMInsidenews.com, GM will cease production of the Two-Mode hybrid versions of the Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Sierra, and GMC Yukon. The company has decided to axe upcoming generations of these hybrid trucks due to low demand and out-of-control costs.

GMInsidenews.com suggests the move is unusual so close to the vehicles' 2014 launch. However, modest fuel economy gains over the non-hybrid versions likely contribute to slow sales. Overall fuel economy in most applications is between 20 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

There is still hope for the next-generation Cadillac Escalade hybrid, which … Read more

The Chevy Volt: Dead or alive?

Depending on who you believe, the Volt is either alive and kickin' or in its death throes.

The most recent news about GM's plug-in hybrid gives fodder to both sides. On the upside, GM said on Wednesday that it already has sold more than 2,500 Volts this month. That would be a monthly record, bringing the global total this year to about 13,000, according to reports.

But critics quickly jumped on another piece of news: GM's suspension of Volt production for four weeks.

That shutdown is attributed to a retooling of the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant where … Read more