Block Phone Calls on Android

tl;dr => it’s not quite a feature, but doable

  1. proprietary add-ons to Android in the crapware (e.g. Samsung)
  2. the baseline method via Contacts->Send to Voicemail & Disable Ringtone


OnStar Service & Benefits

Whereas I joined the club, now I get to comment as part of the experience.

From before…

Problem Statement

  • What is it?
  • What’s the vision/value prop. of the service/product?
  • What does it do for me?
  • Is it worth it? (will it be worth it if/when I pay for it)?

Here’s one more tranche on the estimate, due in 35 months, when I have to start paying for the service.  A continuing argument with myself on finance and value, in counterparts.  Still assessing as:

Current Estimate Tending & Aspiring Towards
Good Enough To Be Free Good Enough To Pay For

On Star Cloud Service

On a negative and cynical note…   Hoping to be able to recite some positive experiences soon.  This is just from reading the marcom collateral.  Looking for uplift?  Look for the HCIT tagging, there’s value there to be mined and good exciting stuff too.

But first a word from the nattering nabobs of negativism:

  • Most of the value propositions involve dying.  First of all, we know this.  Cars kill; you can die in one at any time for any reason and for no reason.  We all mitigate these risks in our lives in a wide wide variety of ways.  OnStar therefore is just another way of mitigating those risks.  It doesn’t provide a new level of living.  It’s just a new form of insurance.  I already carry insurance and live a prudent lifestyle along a wide variety of dimensions to address this need.  I was living fine before without the service …
  • These services rarely ever “remove” the problem they allege to treat.  They are always secondary to the primary service which is your responsibility and yours alone.  They don’t substitute, they supplement if the primary is exceeded.  Think: supplemental insurance.  So is just more or different insurance, but with a tech and constant-contact flavor. delivered through your car.
  • Roadside Assistance.
    • Wait, am I going to need that?   What are you telling me?  Does GM have a field-failure service problem here?
    • On counterpoint, I have never needed roadside assistance for the ten years I owned, and continue to own an Avalanche nor the decade prior of fifteen years that I owned a ’94 Thunderbird.  They never failed outright on the road, in the field.  What can I say?
    • Everyone and his dog sells “roadslide assistance” as a “low-cost” / free perk.  We all know what that means: it’s a boiler room phone service that re-calls your local towing company who has a long-term contract with multiple of these sorts of services.  The assistors locate that boiler room in a low-cost labor place like the Philippines or India. Someone pays for that call center. They bill you for it monthly, you use it how often?
  • Navigation, voiced turn-by-turn. I have one of those. Everyone has one of those. It comes on the phones nowadays. There’s value in having something “built-in-dash”, that has high power access (i.e. doesn’t drain the phone battery or have a bulky cable that runs into a cigarette lighter with the phone constantly falling off the center console … blah blah blah).

Features & Value Propositions

Benefit Classification Reasoning (unto cynical)
Automatic Crash Response Insurance Reduces a possibility of dying
Emergency Services Insurance Reduces possibility of dying;
or being unable to get the car towed.
Hands-Free Calling Phone Already own a phone; the phone already does this. This technology may work about as well as that does for voice-activated command & control.  Requires testing.  Doesn’t integrate with the Android contact & phone book.  Vary expensive & separate “minutes” system.
RemoteLink Mobile App New Lifestyle HCIT Tell me more. Make it work! (see following)
Stolen Insurance Efficacy-in-action unclear. There is value here at some price point. It’s a cute parlor trick if it actually does work. But it is untestable (what, you’ll steal your own car and have it remote-disabled?)
Roadside Assistance Insurance As above. Am I going to need this?  Really? Also, I already have one of these. I cannot not buy that other service (AAA) as it’s bundled & credited into my house & car insurance. This is extra and duplicative.
Remote Services Insurance Efficacy-in-action unclear; i.e. will it work?  If you lost your keys, you can’t run the car anyway, right?  That’s basically what the manual says. So test it!  There may be value here at some appropriate price point.
Diagnostics New Lifestyle HCIT Tell me more. Make it work! (see following)
Seems to be a factory-designed consumerization of the OBD-II devices / apps that you can get get for your phone tutorial.  The link to the factory and dealer data system has some value at some price point (but … they will still service your vehicle and honor the warantee without it so maybe it really ought to be bundled with the vehicle warrantee & service contract aspect).
Turn-by-Turn Navigation Phone Already own a phone; the phone already does this.
AT&T post-market network-delivered navigator is $13+30% FCC tax per month.  Every Google phone has this for free.  Every single one.  There is value here in the in-dash integration, though; at some price point.

The Series