Ford, Microsoft Team Up on Auto Accessories
Ford and Microsoft held an open house for journalists Thursday to test the new SYNC system. This new factory multimedia system uses the Microsoft automotive platform to allow Bluetooth phones and digital media players (including iPod, iPhone, and USB thumbdrives) to seamlessly integrate with steering wheel controls and voice commands. It will be available in twelve Ford and Lincoln models this year, including the new Ford Escort; therefore making the device not exclusively a luxury item.
One feature is the ability of the unit to read audible text messages; Sync will convert text messages from your phone to audio and read it out loud. The system is even smart enough to translate such commonly used text messaging expressions as :) (it will say ‘smiley face’). You can choose to reply from one of 20 predefined responses. The SYNC system is housed in Ford’s double-DIN chassis and will look familiar to most aftermarket installers. Pioneer’s award-winning AVIC navigation can be part of the package.
From this journalist’s perspective: All of the devices in your pocket will integrate seamlessly. Indeed, it does work, but the graphics of the unit are carried over from previous Ford multimedia center models and could have used an update (a little Atari for my taste). My test vehicle Ford Edge was in serious need of a sonic overhaul- with the right aftermarket audio equipment, SYNC can take digital audio collections and Bluetooth to the next level. OEM Integration companies take note.