After enjoying a healthy lead with Sync, Ford may finally have to watch its back. GM officially debuted MyLink and IntelliLink at the 2011 New York International Auto Show, and its new smartphone-integrated infotainment platform could be a game changer for the industry.
IntelliLink synced with an iPhone
Badged as IntelliLink in Buick and GMC vehicles, MyLink uses Bluetooth or USB to sync the occupant's smartphone with the vehicle and integrate certain entertainment applications with the head unit.
If you don't own a smartphone, don't worry--you still have access to all the standard entertainment system features, such as CD player, audio inputs for iPods, and XM satellite radio capability using the new touch-screen or physical control buttons.
For now, Pandora and Stitcher are the only two mobile apps allowed into the new platform. GM hasn't announced an approval process for authorizing other apps, such as iHeartRadio, Spotify, or Mog, but you can expect others to be announced after they pass the safety sniff test. But it's not an open-door policy.
Phone based entertainment apps isn't the only way GM is catching up to Ford's Sync system. In addition to touch-screen interactivity, GM gave its voice activation technology a much needed upgrade. Now both Ford and GM use Nuance and Gracenote for voice activation of their entertainment systems and navigation. However, with 10,000 natural language commands and years of practice, Ford's Sync might retain the upper hand when it comes getting the car to understand what you want.
The MyLink platform will be available in the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox and 2012 Chevrolet Volt this fall, and in the 2013 Chevy Malibu next year. IntelliLink will be standard in all 2012 Veranos, and available in the LaCrosss and Regal later this year, and Buicks will feature a different color scheme with enhanced graphics for satellite radio stations.