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The Hughes setup will integrate turn-by-turn navigation, voice commands for phones and iPods, plus provide emergency and roadside assistance. Additionally, it will allow users to purchase certain features – from directions to songs from Sirius – on an ala carte basis, neglecting the need to spend extra cash each month for products you rarely use. The system will also integrate with the vehicle's ECU to allow diagnosis and problem solving that could avoid a trip to the dealer.

New system combines features of OnStar and Sync - Autoblog

The fee for the service will be competitive with OnStar, said Erik Goldman, Hughes Telematics president. OnStar, which has about five million subscribers, sells two service packages priced at $18.95 a month and $28.95 a month.

As with OnStar, the features Hughes provides will vary, depending on vehicle choice and subscription level. The available services for monthly subscribers will include emergency communications, turn-by-turn navigation, roadside assistance, and voice commands for phones and iPods.

In addition to the subscription service, Hughes will allow vehicle owners to buy services on a pay-per-use basis, Goldman said.

For instance, if you needed directions just a couple of times a year for long trips, you would push a button in the car, speak with an operator who would download the directions and bill you for the service. The same kind of pay-to-play program might allow you to purchase a song or a CD from Sirius satellite radio or download the menu and prices from a restaurant.

MARK PHELAN: Upstart to vie for OnStar's territory
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