(Source: Ford Motor Company)

  (Source: Ford Motor Company)

  (Source: Ford Motor Company)

  (Source: Ford Motor Company)
Welcome to the batmobile

In an exclusive interview with Doug Van Dagens, Ford Motor Company's Director of Connected Services, at a CES 2010 press event DailyTech has been provided exclusive details on the upcoming successor to SYNC, dubbed MyFord Touch.  There's a lot of exciting new features -- some which Ford has already discussed (portable customizations, smart phone app API, climate control, and mobile broadband), others that we received exclusive insight on (the new system's web browser and details on its text messaging scheme).

First the basics:  MyFord Touch is powered by an 8-in. touchscreen display in the center stack and two smaller 4.2-in. LCD screens to the right and left of an analog speedometer.  The LCD gauges can currently be found in the Ford Fusion Hybrid.  In the new MyFord Touch, the left screen provides practical vehicle information like a tachometer and fuel gauge, while the right screen offers MyFord Touch menus.

Two five-way button thumbwheels on the steering wheel give the driver one means of interacting with MyFord Touch.  The driver actually has three primary means of interacting with the system -- a VUI (voice user interface) which implements the system's famous voice commands, a TUI (touch user interface) via the center stack screen, and a GUI (graphic user interface) via the thumbwheel controllers.

The new system splits activities into four categories -- Phone, Climate, Navigation and Entertainment.  Each of these categories is color coded, but you can reportedly freely customize the color selection.  As the second heading implies, MyFord Touch will soon provide you with a digital means of controlling your car's heat and air conditioning.

Other new features include APIs to allow smart phone applications to interact with MyFord Touch and take advantage of its voice commands.  This could eventually enable streaming voice-controlled streaming internet radio apps or restaurant finder apps that allow you to select a type of food and selection by voice and then gives you directions.

Another new feature is settings portability.  When you get a new MyFord Touch vehicle (or whatever its successor will be called), you can put your preferences -- color scheme, your radio presets, your music tags, your seat position, etc. -- on a USB stick or even on an SD card, via the new slot found in upcoming MyFord Touch vehicles.  The system also brings refined voice commands (allowing complex selections like artist collaborations).

DailyTech received exclusive information on another important feature of the upcoming system -- a browser.  You can only use MyFord Touch's new browser when parked, but the proprietary (Ford designed) browser should be handy for mobile connectivity.  The browser is built on WebKit, which forms the basis of Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari browsers. 

It will feature current versions of Adobe Flash and Microsoft's Silverlight, so it should be ready for just about any web task you throw at it.  Internet connection is provided by the previously discussed user-supplied broadband modem, which the new system will interface with via the USB slot, creating an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot.  URLs are entered in the new system via a touch keyboard on the center stack touchscreen.

Currently a handful of smart phone partners (Apple, RIM) have been announced.  Google is likely soon going to be added to that list.  Mr. Van Dagens hinted at that, stating, "I can't announce anything that our partners haven't announced yet."

He did give us details, though on Ford's progress with offering text messaging through the new system.  In the new system you will be able to send one of fifteen canned text messages to your contacts.  An update is coming to the system sometime this year which will allow you to customize these messages.

In summary, the new MyFord Touch looks like an incredibly exciting piece of technology and looks to continue to allows users to interact with their car in ways that users have only seen before in the movies.  Ford isn't resting on the laurels of the system's success, instead it's aggressively driving ahead with new features.  And that should provide its customers with a truly groundbreaking in-car experience -- a consumer infotainment system that surpasses that found on any competitor's car, including luxury models.

Update 1: Thursday, Jan. 7, 2009, 5:10 p.m. EST:
Many of you asked what models, and when MyFord Touch and the corresponding MyLincoln Touch (the luxury branded version) would be landing.  The MyLincoln Touch will first land on the 2011 Lincoln MKX.  The MyFord Touch will first land on the corresponding mass market entry, the 2011 Ford Edge.  The next model to get the tech will be the 2012 Ford Focus.

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