Chevy shows off an app store, names its LTE service after old-timey OnStar

LAS VEGAS—Chevy is using this year’s CES to show off its ambitious plans to put 4G LTE connectivity in most of its 2015 product line, with the first LTE-equipped models rolling out this summer. The Volt, the Impala, the Malibu, and the Corvette will be the first Chevy models with onboard LTE, with others to follow in the not-too-distant future.

While Audi’s 4G-equipped A3, due out in the spring, will be first by a few months, only General Motors, through Chevy and its other brands, is planning this broad a rollout of fast connectivity in cars. A 4G-equipped car can act as a mobile hotspot for multiple devices in the car, such as passengers’ tablets or phones. The connection will be fast enough for video to stream instead of stutter (just for the passengers, of course—drivers, keep your eyes on the road!).

The company is also working out the money part. With AT&T as the carrier, you’ll be able to set up a separate data plan for the car or add the car to an existing Mobile Share plan. GM says that it will announce additional payment options in the spring.

By naming the new connectivity feature OnStar 4G LTE, General Motors is hoping to give its nearly 20-year-old emergency and navigation service a place in today’s sun. OnStar was innovative for its time, but its closed-system design seems staid compared to the incredibly diverse (and yes, chaotic) world of apps we live in now. There was no news, however, about whether OnStar itself will be changing, or whether this new service is a step toward phasing out the old one.

When Chevrolet begins to roll out cars with 4G LTE this summer, it will also open an app store, called AppShop, where you will be able to choose and organize the apps you want to show on your car’s display.

The company also revealed the names of the first 11 apps slated to appear in an online store: These include apps from popular brands like iHeartRadio, Priceline.com, and The Weather Channel. The apps will be available to owners of select 2015 Chevy models with MyLink, including the Corvette, the Equinox, the Impala, the Malibu, the Volt, and the Silverado.

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