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January 05, 2011

OnStar unveiled a long-rumored aftermarket rearview mirror device, called OnStar Anywhere, for non-GM vehicles Tuesday night at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Jan. 5, ZDNet: The automaker said it would do so by offering a retail, boxed version of an OnStar-equipped rearview mirror, giving nearly any vehicle — from a Ford to a Toyota — features such as automatic crash response, turn-by-turn navigation, stolen vehicle location assistance, emergency and roadside services and hands-free calling.

Like Ford’s Sync announcement at the 2010 CES, automotive and tech pundits have nothing but glowing praise for OnStar Anywhere.

Jalopnik’s Ray Wert said it “may be the coolest safety-and-security gadget ever.”

But amidst the buzz, a couple things are missed. The cost, for starters.

The device will cost consumers $300, plus an installation fee. Then they’ll have to pay the $200/year or $19/month subscription fee. OnStar Anywhere is a sizable investment that probably means most people will hit a GM dealership first, if they have their heart set on OnStar.

Early adopters almost always pay a premium for new technology (just ask the first iPhone buyers) so it is entirely possible the product price could come down eventually.

Also buried in this unveiling is OnStar CEO Chris Preuss’ announcement that the company plans to expand beyond in-vehicle service with a full-line of consumer electronics devices.

Jan. 5, Detroit Free Press: "This is a transformational move for our business," said Preuss, who noted that OnStar also is exploring non-automotive applications, such as home security and utility management, lifeline assistance to senior citizens, GPS tracking and fitness activity monitoring.

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