Microsoft, Ford In “Sync”



Ford says the new Sync system, a Microsoft Auto software system that controls all sorts of in-car audio equipment, will be available in twelve of its new vehicles beginning late this year.

The Sync system – jointly announced by Ford CEO Alan Mulally and a satellite-linked-in Microsoft chairman Bill Gates at the 2007 Detroit auto show – will allow users to interface their mobile phone, music player, or digital storage device with their Ford’s audio system. The devices will be controlled by voice commands, steering-wheel mounted controls, or the car’s audio controls.


Sync will also use the car’s audio system to read back text messages sent to portable devices. It will also synchronize user’s contact information from devices, and will even be able to distinguish most ringtones loaded onto mobile phones.


Sync is Bluetooth-compatible. Users will also have the option of linking through a USB port for operating their devices and recharging them.


The Sync system will operate with most of today’s consumer electronics, including Apple’s iPod, the Palm Treo phones, and the like. Ford and Microsoft say the system will be kept up to date with software updates.


Ford will offer the Sync system for the 2008 model year on the Ford Focus, Fusion, Five Hundred, Edge, Freestyle, Explorer, and Sport Trac; the Mercury Milan, Montego, and Mountaineer; and the Lincoln MKX and MKZ. Ford says it will put the system in all its future products as an option.

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