The Evolution of SYNC
As the leader in automotive technology, Ford is a regular attendee of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that takes place every January in Las Vegas. Ford first launched SYNC at CES in 2007, and then showed up the following year with additional functionality to SYNC in terms of features and services. SYNC is the Microsoft-powered platform for Ford vehicles that offers hands-free entertainment, communications and more with voice commands.
Ford CTO Paul Mascarenas says that Ford is content with Microsoft as their vehicle operating system because it is an open platform, which means that you can bring any device into the vehicle, interface it through Bluetooth, and then enjoy that in-vehicle experience. He says that although Ford is not looking to change their operating system, they have continued to evolve the Microsoft platform since first launching SYNC.
For instance, Ford introduced MyFord Touch at the 2010 CES, where it received a Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice award for best new product and “Best of CES” award in the Car Tech and GPS category by the editors of CNET. MyFord Touch allows you to personalize your driving experience with voice commands, touch screen controls, or customizable cluster screens controlled by steering wheel-mounted buttons. The latest version of MyFord Touch, which is in production now, can better recognize natural speech and features a more simple Bluetooth pairing process. Ford is also extending the warranty on this system in its vehicles to five years with unlimited miles.
Also in 2010, Ford bought SYNC AppLink, which allows connectivity between your smartphone and car, and selectively installed it in some 2011 vehicles. Now about one fifth of vehicles equipped with SYNC have AppLink installed, and Ford plans on progressively rolling the feature out over the future. With AppLink, you can access and control Ford-approved smartphone apps on your mobile device interfaced with the vehicle with voice commands and vehicle controls. Ford is now working with about twenty partners and has bought about sixty apps for use in their vehicles, including new apps from USA Today, Rhapsody, The Wall Street Journal, Amazon Cloud Player, and others.
Ford returned to CES this year with a focus on content. In an interview at the 2013 CES, Mascarenas said, “…this year we’re really talking about content and how we can leverage the smartphone, the mobile device, and the content that people are enjoying on that device, but now bring it into the vehicle.” He likes to think of the automobile as the ultimate mobile device. Check out the blog on Monday to read about Ford’s exciting announcement at the 2013 CES and to discover some useful car apps. In the meantime, click here to learn about the different SYNC packages you can choose from.