Catching up with OnStar

Technology experts say OnStar's new Google navigation app for the Chevy Volt marks a revolution for the telematics service.

After all, OnStar has taken a drubbing in recent years for allegedly standing still in mobile technology, while Ford's Sync grabbed all the accolades.

But as I watched a demonstration of the Google app last week, I couldn't help but think I have something strangely in common with OnStar: We're both finally joining the smart-phone revolution.

I've covered three Consumer Electronics Shows, several telematics conferences and interviewed various CEOs about the latest, greatest in-vehicle technologies and mobile apps.

But all the while, I had a secret. While everybody else was investing in their second or third Blackberry or surfing around on the latest iPhone, I was still carrying around an old-fashioned clamshell phone -- and a broken one, at that.

That is, until about a month ago, when I took the plunge and bought a Droid.

I had to. My "dumb" phone had literally become a joke.

I could swear I heard one executive chuckle when she saw me pull out my LG VX8350 -- vintage 2007 -- at a GM event in January.

"You need a smart phone," she said sympathetically, as I later struggled to boot up a laptop computer in a dark restaurant, just so I could read an email from my editor.

Now, I'm happy to say: There's an app for that.