Offloading the Expensive Nav to the Phone

Sections: Infotainment, Navigation, Telematics

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Ahhh, the ubiquitous smartphone.  Since everyone has one…and navigation is typically such an expensive item…why not offload the nav portion of what you as a manufacturer are buying from suppliers and leave it to the user’s smartphone?  The first major foray into this area is by Chevrolet in the new Spark, but we expect other entry-level price point vehicle manufacturers to try and cash in on the action.

As for right now, there is nothing like a full-tilt, all-in navigation experience from the manufacturer.  However, the BringGo system is showing the fact an automaker can leave the expense of an OEM engineered system with the supplier and have the customer bring their own.  It’s kinda like BYOB (or wine).  You just don’t expect it in the fancy establishments (sommolier anyone?), but the end result will be the same (get tipsy) and you can save a few bucks in the process.

Check out the BringGo app for the Spark here:

Buyers of the 2013 Chevrolet Spark equipped with the segment-exclusive MyLink Radio can soon enlist a new ally in the war on bad directions and traffic snarls. BringGo is an available, embedded smartphone application that will project full-function, cloud-based navigation and live traffic alerts onto the Spark’s seven-inch color touch screen.

“The beauty of BringGo is it gives our Spark customers the safety and functionality of a more expensive navigation system without the need for additional equipment and at a tremendous value,” said Sara LeBlanc, global program manager for GM infotainment. “It also demonstrates how easy it is to expand and update MyLink Radio’s capabilities for Spark.”

The BringGo embedded smartphone app for MyLink – standard on LT models – will be available in the fourth quarter and provides:

  • Emergency information such as police, fire and the nearest hospital
  • Thousands of points of interest, such as the nearest department store, type of restaurant, repair shop, etc.
  • Local Search via Google
  • Where am I? locator
  • Live traffic functionality provides crash reports and lane closures, and alternative routes
  • 3-D maps
  • Ability to calculate remaining miles of range
  • Ability to store native maps to the customer’s smartphone, giving them access to locations and turn-by-turn directions even when phone signal quality is poor. Many GPS-enabled apps do not do this.

Because BringGo will become available after Spark goes on sale, the first Spark models sold will require a simple update at the dealer so that the embedded BringGo app can be operated using the radio’s controls. BringGo will be priced at about $50.

How MyLink Radio for Spark works

The Spark’s MyLink Radio functions as an extension of the owner’s Android, BlackBerry or iPhone smartphone. MyLink also supports phones with the Symbian operating system from Nokia and phones with the Windows Mobile operating system from Microsoft.

Owners connect their customized music libraries, contacts, videos and photos with the radio using their smartphones, and the vehicle’s Bluetooth, plug-in outlet or USB. Then, they select from options projected onto the seven-inch color touch-screen: Audio, Pictures & Movies, Telephone, Smartphone Link and Settings.

Each menu selection takes the user though a list of easy-to-select functions while the smartphone is safely stowed.

“MyLink for Spark was designed with safety in mind,” said LeBlanc. “Everything from the screen colors, font sizes, placement of the buttons, number of items per screen – each was considered to create a design that was both simple to use and safe to operate.”

Spark’s MyLink Radio will launch with two embedded apps: Pandora internet radio and Stitcher Smart Radio. When owners with these services connect their compatible smartphones via Bluetooth or by plugging in, they can access these and other functions:

  • Personal playlists of stored music
  • Hands-free calling with Bluetooth-enabled voice activation from the customer’s smartphone when the steering wheel button is depressed. (Visit for a list of compatible smartphones)
  • Ability to project video via USB while the vehicle is parked
  • Ability to project a photo album in “slideshow” mode via USB while the vehicle is parked, with the last music selection playing in the background. Once the vehicle is moving, a single photo is viewable.

MyLink Radio on Spark LT models comes with six speakers. The infotainment system on Spark LS consists of an AM/FM stereo with four speakers, digital clock, auxiliary input jack and equalizer.

In addition to MyLink Radio, Spark LT comes with three months of Sirius XM Radio that includes commercial-free music plus sports, news and talk, comedy and family programming.

OnStar with six months of Directions and Connections service is standard on all Spark models and includes automatic crash response, emergency services, remote vehicle diagnostics with an e-mail update, hands-free calling, remote door unlock, Turn-by-Turn Navigation and more.


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  • Neel

    Just bought a new 2013 Chevy Spark 1LT. I was disappointed when I found out that BringGo Navigation app is not supported my Samsung Galaxy S4. I hope they update their app soon.