OnStar announces a blue button for any car, Best Buy handling the installs
Want OnStar? Sure, why not, the company fields over three million calls a month from six million mostly from satisfied customers. But, until now, that blue button has only been able to be pressed by those who own General Motors cars. Now it's spreading out to just about anyone, 99 percent of cars will be able to be supported by the new OnStar mirror, which the company is simply calling its "retail product." For $299 (plus installation) you get a replacement mirror that will wirelessly connect you to the OnStar service. It also has Bluetooth, so it can connect to your smartphone, but we're guessing many cars won't be able to have their doors unlocked remotely, what is surely OnStar's killer app. Quite naturally you'll need to pay up to use it, service fees currently going at $18.95 a month, or $199 annually. Best Buy will be the exclusive partner here, which is perhaps bad news if you've read the horror stories about what sometimes happens in those blue and yellow stereo install bays.

OnStar showed off its ability by having mirrors installed in a variety of vehicles, ranging from a Camry to a Grand Marquis -- hot cars they're not but a pretty effective demonstration of the range of applicability here. GM also took this opportunity to show off the latest revision of its two-wheeled EN-V, which we'll be taking for a spin a little later this week. All that fun is captured in the galleries below.

OnStar product announcement

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OnStar retail product press shots

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OnStar retail product

What: The industry leading safety, security and connectivity services of OnStar can now be added to vehicles already on the road through a standalone rearview mirror that is compatible with most top- selling vehicles from major manufacturers and packs all of OnStar's core technology.

When: The OnStar retail product will be available in the U.S. in spring 2011 for $299, plus installation (expected to cost between $75 and $100), through Best Buy and other selected consumer electronics retailers. A range of service plans will be available, starting at $18.95 a month or $199 a year.

Key features:

Dimensions: 10.0 inches wide by 3.4 inches high by 1.85 inches deep (not including mount); weighs 23 ounces

Compatibility: Currently, the OnStar mirror is certified to work on 99 percent of the 20 best- selling non-GM vehicles over the last 10 years or approximately 55 million cars and light trucks. OnStar expects to certify additional models in the months ahead. Those top 20 vehicles are:

Ford/Lincoln F-Series/Mark LT
Toyota Camry
Honda Accord
Dodge/Chrysler/VW Caravan/T&C/Voyager/Routan
Dodge Ram Pickup
Honda Civic
Ford/Mercury/Lincoln Explorer/Mountaineer/Aviator
Ford/Mercury Taurus/500/Sable/Montego
Toyota Corolla
Nissan Altima
Ford Focus
Ford/Mercury/Mazda Escape/Mariner/Tribute
Chrysler//Dodge Sebring/Stratus/Avenger
Ford/Mazda Ranger/Mazda Pickup
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Honda CR-V
Toyota Tacoma

Ford/Lincoln Expedition/Navigator
Honda Odyssey
Ford/Mercury Crown Vic/Grand Marquis

Source: Research by General Motors Engineering, based on sales volume data from Ward's Automotive Group. Final list of compatible vehicles will be released at retail availability of the OnStar product.

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OnStar announces a blue button for any car, Best Buy handling the installs