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Infotainment systems are expensive. Even rolled into the average new car payment and spread out over four or five years, you're still talking about some serious cash. And if we're honest, most buyers that can drop that kind of coin generally don't care about deep smartphone integration. But young people do. And that's where the latest MyLink system from Chevrolet comes in.

Set to be fitted to the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS and higher-spec Spark models, the new, low-cost MyLink system integrates a seven-inch LG-sourced capacitive display into the dash and can connect with either iPhones or Android devices with a USB cable or Bluetooth.

Phone and address book integration is built in, but more importantly, users can stream Pandora and Stitcher radio through the system, as well as play videos and photo slideshows. OnStar handles navigation duties and reps tell us that more third party apps are on the way.

GM isn't saying how much the system will cost when it hits both models later this year, but something well below $500 would be a smart place to start. From the images we've seen, it's easily one of the most attractive interfaces on the market and we're hoping to get some hands-on time with it tonight. But in the meantime, get the first batch of details in the video and release after the break.

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Chevy Spark and Sonic RS Buyers Get MyLink, Their Way

Touch screen radios use owners' smartphones for easy connectivity

LAS VEGAS – The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS and uplevel models of the 2013 Chevrolet Spark will be equipped with Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system that works by bringing owners' smartphone capabilities into the vehicle.

The seven-inch (diagonal) touch screen color radios in the Sonic RS and Spark will be produced by LG Electronics, it was announced today at the Consumer Electronics Show. Show goers will be able to test drive the MyLink system for Sonic RS and Spark at a special display.

"The whole philosophy of MyLink is about letting our customers personalize how they bring information and music into their vehicles," said Sara LeBlanc, GM global infotainment program manager.

"Customers all over the world told us they've set up their smartphones exactly how they want them, and the ideal car radio should extend the capabilities of their smartphone rather than try to duplicate them," she said. "We listened to our customers and gave them a system that is safe, simple and connected."

With MyLink in the Sonic RS and Spark, the smartphone, in effect, functions in the same way a hard drive would in an embedded infotainment system. Owners of compatible devices can bring their own media into the vehicle through a USB or by docking the smartphone phone using the radio's Bluetooth connection (Visit HYPERLINK "http://www.onstar.com/web/Bluetooth"gm.com/Bluetooth to see which phones are compatible.). There also is a dedicated plug-in outlet for certain personal music devices and smartphones that do not use USB or Bluetooth connections.

Once the compatible smartphones are integrated, owners can access their personal playlists, photo galleries, phone books and other stored media and data.

To operate the system, the owner selects from options projected onto the touch screen: Audio, Pictures & Movies, Telephone, Smartphone Link and Settings. Each menu selection takes the user though a list of easy-to-select functions.

Phone calls can be made without dialing: The owner can select a name from the stored directory, touch the call function and project the call through the vehicle speakers. Additional media applications will work only when the vehicle is parked.

When the Sonic RS and Spark go on sale, apps for U.S.-based Pandora and Stitcher internet radio will be will be available. Chevrolet MyLink functionality varies by model. MyLink on Sonic and Spark RS does not include integrated voice recognition or Gracenotes capability.

The 2013 Chevrolet Spark goes on sale this summer. MyLink is planned to be standard on the 1LT and 2LT models. The 2013 Sonic RS will be available in the fourth quarter of this year.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Infotainment systems are expensive, and there are a lot of people who don't want them, so why is it that so many cars are coming with them standard? If I'm forced to buy a car that has one of these touch screens because a bunch of 'young people' can't drive without being connected to the internet, I have no regret for sticking them with the bill for the national debt.
      Sorten Borten
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ford's SYNC isn't very expensive. Free, in fact, if you were willing to pre-order the Fiesta.
        Lavell Riddle
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Sorten Borten
        It doesn't cost free, It's included in the price, kind of like a free cell phone isn't free, its included in your monthly obligations.
          Sorten Borten
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Lavell Riddle
          Lavell, that is incorrect. If you had placed a pre-order for the Fiesta before it went into production, the SYNC system would have been included for free. In other words, you would have paid $800 less for the exact same car than someone who ordered it after the Fiesta went into production.
          Lavell Riddle
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Lavell Riddle
          so ford gave you a $800 incentive to pre-order and commit to buying a future model, thats one heck of a promotion to lock you into a new car! so is it correct that its free now? and if so this at less then 500 is a good deal since the free sync cost $800?
      Lavell Riddle
      • 3 Years Ago
      its awesome that it has all those levels of integration, but my question is how well dues the voice command and steering wheel toggles work with this! because the last thing I want is someone working this 7" capacitive touch screen (uses the static electricity of your bare finger), then the 4.3" capacitive touch screen on their cell phones. I see there isn't a physical radio tuning button, so I can tell the screen will be at least somewhat unlocked during driving. I hope the screen is locked for everything else. I don't want anybody trying to play a video on their touch screen infotainment screen while going down the road, young or old!!!