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  (Source: Reuters)
Microsoft showed off the latest generation of its Sync in-car service during CES

During a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally discussed new features of its new Sync system, as Ford and Microsoft prepare to roll out the system to more vehicles.

The next generation version of Sync will offer Sync with Traffic, Directions and Information, a voice-activated communications that sends real-time information to a driver's mobile phone.  The new Sync system also offers drivers directions by voice so that drivers will have both eyes on the road while driving.

It's also possible to preset driving destinations -- i.e. workplace or friend's house -- and have traffic updates sent to a mobile phone, or the directions can be read to the driver.

"We are a car company that through market-driven, customer focused innovation is learning to think and act like an electronics company, leveraging partnerships with fresh, innovative technology leaders," Mulally said in a statement.

Sync reportedly helped Ford boost sales of its Focus compact car to younger buyers, interested in the built-in MP3 player, among other things.  Ford has used Sync as an option on some car models while making it standard on the Ford Focus.  The cars that are Sync-equipped reportedly sell almost twice as fast as the same cars without Sync, an internal Ford survey revealed.

The struggling auto maker hopes its renewed efforts in Sync will help keep the company ahead of auto makers who are beginning to incorporate technology inside their vehicles.

New car models with Sync capabilities will roll out on select 2010 Fusion and Mustang models this year, and will be used in a wider variety of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars for the 2011 lineup.  The service is free for three months; then will cost $8 per month after the three-month trial.

Car manufacturers are looking to help draw in interested buyers, and adding technological perks seems to be their latest frontier.  Microsoft is working with Hyundai to offer easier access to in-car music and information systems.  Toyota also is working on creating onboard navigation and communications systems to playback music, show directions, and other added features.





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Photo funny!
By Motoman on 1/9/2009 1:49:46 AM , Rating: 3
...I think that photo should be captioned thusly:

"FIVE DOLLAR FOOT LOOOOONG!"

"Yup. Just had me one o' them. Tasty!"




RE: Photo funny!
By Bender 123 on 1/9/2009 9:15:45 AM , Rating: 4
No, he's answering the question...

"Will anybody in America actually have money left to buy a car? And if they do, why would they want to buy a Ford?"


RE: Photo funny!
By Dreifort on 1/9/2009 10:01:31 AM , Rating: 4
And Ford's CEO is grinning because he actually owns a Honda.


RE: Photo funny!
By Motoman on 1/9/2009 10:26:03 AM , Rating: 2
...or maybe Ballmer's going "Dude, after that party last night, my head feels *this* big!"

Ford guy: "I like to pretend I'm Napolean. I stick my hand in my jacket like this and swear at people in French."


RE: Photo funny!
By Dreifort on 1/9/2009 11:01:30 AM , Rating: 3
I thought Ballmer was photographed describing how it felt to be sitting in a Prius.


RE: Photo funny!
By Samus on 1/10/2009 4:11:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And Ford's CEO is grinning because he actually owns a Honda.


Alan Mulally drives a Lexus


RE: Photo funny!
By rudolphna on 1/9/2009 11:09:43 AM , Rating: 2
I would. And alot of people would. Ford is now on par with Toyota and honda in terms of reliability and quality according to Consumer reports, and JD Power.


RE: Photo funny!
By IvanAndreevich on 1/10/2009 2:06:07 PM , Rating: 2
American cars depreciate in value rapidly, Ford included. There is a reason for this, you figure it out.


RE: Photo funny!
By MadMan007 on 1/11/2009 10:28:52 PM , Rating: 2
Only matters if you buy it and then plan on reselling it while it still has any reasonable amount of value. Otherwise if you're smart and keep your cars a long time they all depreciate quite a bit. If you're dumb and change cars every 2 years might as well lease aka perpetual renting.


RE: Photo funny!
By callmeroy on 1/9/2009 3:21:54 PM , Rating: 4
Ford is actually the best one of the big three American based car makers ..

+ highest satisfaction and quality ratings among the three US auto makers according to JD Power and Associates

+ of the 3 -- they are by far in the better (though certainly not great) financial situation

+ they aren't dodge :)


Brand recognition
By oab on 1/8/2009 10:48:06 PM , Rating: 2
It's a bad brand name to use. Sync. Sync does voice recognition for phones and stuff? The name implies it syncs to your home PC or something, not do any of the other fancy wizardry.

Although, Ford is showing why it is not being crippled like GM/Chrysler are. Actual features that might be useful to some people (but not me)!




RE: Brand recognition
By Rodney McNaggerton on 1/9/2009 12:05:13 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, what? If you've ever used Sync you would understand that it is really an amazing piece of engineering. I got called from a sync system in a ford fusion and a Lexus in car phone system and the sync system actually sounded a lot better(revurberation on the Lexus unit). Now albeit the Lexus was 2 years older than the ford, but for mainstream technology this is pretty amazing! The music playing is another plus as well, very intuitive. With my next car I will be sure to get the sync system because I liked it that much.


RE: Brand recognition
By kellehair on 1/9/2009 10:58:48 AM , Rating: 2
Only a tech geek would hear the term "Sync" and think of their home PC. Hopefully those same tech geeks are smart enough to know the difference.


RE: Brand recognition
By teldar on 1/11/2009 11:26:58 AM , Rating: 2
Now you're making sense and clouding the issues here. The issue was that this guy can't comprehend anyone being able to figure out what the difference is.


It works?
By twhittet on 1/9/2009 12:07:54 AM , Rating: 2
It's hard to believe, but gimmicky features like this actually do help sell vehicles somewhat. I have a tech savvy friend who bought decided to pimp out his Zune by buying a Ford Fusion for his new car.

It amazes me how such small things can help determine such large decisions. More cupholders!




RE: It works?
By Motoman on 1/9/2009 1:52:49 AM , Rating: 2
...and blumenvases.


RE: It works?
By clovell on 1/9/2009 12:53:55 PM , Rating: 2
Gimmicky? Small? Amazed? Do you not realize that your friend now has a 120 GB voice-activated MP3 stereo system that will charge in his car and sych to his home network wirelessly as it sits in the garage?

No more fumbling through CDs, pressing buttons, having to deal with touchpads, remembering to bring your MP3 player inside to put new music....

And the Zune Unlimited pass is $15 / month. I mean - I think that's pretty huge, and has been a long time coming.


Live Mesh
By Spivonious on 1/9/2009 8:22:16 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder if there are any plans to hook Sync up to Live Mesh. It would be great to have access to your PC from your car anywhere there is an internet connection.




RE: Live Mesh
By Dreifort on 1/9/2009 10:05:37 AM , Rating: 2
We got internet on our computers and hackers tried to steal our credit card numbers.

We got internet on our phones and hackers tried to steal revealing self-portrait photos of ourselves.

What happens when we get internet in our cars!? They steal our cars (by accessing/disabling security deterrents through your car's computer system)?


RE: Live Mesh
By clovell on 1/9/2009 12:55:44 PM , Rating: 2
oh teh noes.


GPS
By rubyxc7 on 1/9/2009 11:47:55 AM , Rating: 2
So it looks like they'll be building the GPS/traffic software into the system. What happens when that glitches?

Turn right at next intersection.
Turn left at [0x324b23a0].
Follow road for [0x00000000] miles.
Stop at Best Buy.
Proceed to buy Vista. Please?




RE: GPS
By chucky2 on 1/9/2009 2:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
LMAO...that was good! :)


Very nice!
By Raidin on 1/9/2009 2:17:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The new Sync system also offers drivers directions by voice so that drivers will have both eyes on the road while driving.


This is a great feature! I hated having one eye on the road while my other eye was looking at my navigation system!




RE: Very nice!
By Atheist Icon on 1/9/2009 4:03:26 PM , Rating: 2
i don't think it would help for the people with lazy eyes...they are always looking at two things at once anyway...


love it...
By jordanl17 on 1/10/2009 3:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
I just got a used 2008 Mercury Sable . $15,900 . I don't think you can get more car for the money. Sync is awesome, car drives great, gets good MPG for the size..

American cars depreciate in value because no one wants them, no one wants them because they depreciate in value... no one knows why they don't want them. People struggle to come up with a good reason NOT to buy American, (ie, I wouldn't buy that; it's American) OH.. that makes sence in 1980's-1990's, but not now.




RE: love it...
By jordanl17 on 1/10/2009 3:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
also, a cool feature Sync offers. BT audio streaming.. 8gb MiniSD in my BB 8310.. walk into my car, turn it on, no need to press anything, and I'm streaming my music library from my phone to my car's stereo... nice!


Heh heh...
By amanojaku on 1/8/2009 9:18:51 PM , Rating: 2
Steve Balmer looks like saying:
By Clauzii on 1/8/2009 11:16:34 PM , Rating: 2
"Well, I don't know if it will be a success in the end, but start throwing some money to me - I'll grab them, and we'll see."




fee?
By MadMan007 on 1/11/2009 10:34:41 PM , Rating: 2
I think Sync is a really cool package...makes cars sort of star-trekkie ;) BUT but but...fees. I detest monthly service fees and avoid them like the plague. Sure this fee is small but I don't like getting nickel and dimed either. Is the fee necessary for general Sync functionality? If so I'd be sorely dissapointed because presumably there's some added cost in the vehicle so the basic stuff that's limited to the car itself ought to have no additional cost. If the fee is to access ervices that are outside the car like some GPS dealie that's fine.




SYNC
By wolfpack1825 on 1/12/2009 5:16:49 PM , Rating: 2
I have a 2008 AWD Ford Fusion and my wife has a 2007 Honda Accord. The wife loves the SYNC feature so much that we fight over who drives what. Time for you to test drive a Ford they are not even close to the same company you remember. SYNC might be a gimmick, but being upgradable and feature rich is a real plus to your driving experience. No fees for anything, not like ON STAR you do the math.




and BMW goes open source
By Screwballl on 1/9/2009 1:10:52 PM , Rating: 1
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-10076071-48.h...

quote:
October 28, 2008

BMW AG is asking automakers to work together to make vehicle electronics more innovative.

The automaker is developing an open-source platform for vehicle electronics to allow providers of information and entertainment services to develop plug-and-play applications.

BMW is asking other automakers to join in its effort and abandon the practice of using proprietary software for platform development.

It made its pitch during a panel discussion on auto electronics here last week.

Of the five panelists at Convergence 2008, a conference on automotive electronics, only BMW's engineer said his company would have an open-source platform in a vehicle of 200,000 or more units in five to seven years.

Electrical and electronics engineers from BMW, Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor, General Motors, and Honda R&D Co. also participated on the panel.

The open-source Linux system was created by BMW, Wind River Systems, and Intel for the in-vehicle infotainment market.


BMW is going the right direction and Ford is going the wrong direction. Microsoft is fine for a desktop OS but with their track record on non-PC hardware, there have been too many problems, and it is only a matter of time before they start showing up in the cars as well.




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