Print 14 comment(s) - last by shaidorsai.. on Aug 2 at 3:42 PM

Sync is now offered on base level models

Ford has been offering its Sync voice control system that allows for hands free calls and enables the driver to control the vehicle’s entertainment system. Ford has announced that it is cutting the price of Sync to make it more affordable for buyers.

Ford has set the new price for Sync at $295, representing a $100 discount. The new Sync system for 2012 will launch first on the 2012 Explorer and Edge SUVs. Sync is now also optional on all base trim levels of the SUVs as well.

“Ford SYNC is making a difference. Our customers love it and recommend it, and our dealers want it on more products,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “SYNC already has brought hands-free, voice-activated in-car connectivity to millions, helping keep drivers’ eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Now, Ford is making it even easier for customers to afford exactly what they want.”

Ford says that part of the motivation for making Sync cheaper and more widely available was due to the hands free laws that are going into effect across the country. Ford thinks that Sync can help reduce driver distraction and make drivers safer when they use the phone while driving. Last month Ford was the first automaker to offer support for the Safe Drivers Act of 2011. This proposed legislation would ban the use of handheld mobile devices while driving nationwide.

“As the list of states banning hand-held calls and texting while driving continues to grow and legislators ponder a nationwide ban, Ford is strengthening its leadership position as the only full-line automaker with plans to offer available hands-free mobile device connectivity on 100 percent of its passenger vehicle lineup,” said Czubay.

Sync has some issues with usability, but Ford is working to make it easier to use.

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RE: bad idea
By Samus on 8/1/2011 2:40:17 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly. Sync still has physical controls for radio/climate. MyTouch does away with that via touchscreen/voice prompts.

Anybody who has a touch screen anything knows its simply unsafe to use while driving. Even swiping my finger across my Nokia N8 to answer a call is distracting.

RE: bad idea
By Kerdal on 8/1/2011 4:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
That's just false. My 2012 Focus Titanium still have buttons for radio/climate both on the steering wheel and under the touch screen. I don't know where this whole idea that they removed everything comes from but it's not the case. The touch screen simply adds more ways to do things and give more information to the user but all the "old" controls are still there. Obviously you're not supposed to use the touch screen while driving but nothing prevents the passenger from doing so.

Having the rearview camera on the screen is great though.

RE: bad idea
By VinceCL on 8/1/2011 5:02:11 PM , Rating: 2
Try sitting in a 2011 Explorer Limited. You have one knob for the volume of the stereo, everything else is a touch sensitive area on a smooth shiny black plastic panel (Sony stereo). That is where some people are getting this idea. Even in the XLT, I think it is only the fan and the volume that get knobs. This time, the rest of the controls are touch sensitive nubs.

The old controls are there, but no better than hunting for them on a touch screen as a finger swipe will activate the nubs and the Sony has no tactile navigation at all.

I believe the new Explorer is Ford's idea of the perfect human/automobile interface. They got it all wrong. They should have left well enough alone and kept the traditional buttons, but expanded upon them with touch screen and MyFord Touch. They goofed on that one. The ultimate question is whether they will fix it or not.

RE: bad idea
By Spuke on 8/1/2011 6:55:16 PM , Rating: 2
The ultimate question is whether they will fix it or not.
That's totally different than the Edge and Focus. Both vehicles still have buttons. BTW, you can do nearly anything from the gauge cluster displays. Nav is still only on the center unit but who messes with that once it's set anyways. And there is still the voice controls. Are you guys sure you're geeks?

RE: bad idea
By VinceCL on 8/2/2011 9:12:31 AM , Rating: 2
Are you guys sure you're geeks?

Hehe, yeah, I'm a geek. Don't get me wrong, I love all the tech stuff. The problems arise when the new system can't do the job as well as the old.

I use my dash from muscle memory and by running my finger over the buttons until I know I have the right one and press. I can feel them, and they don't activate until I press on them. With all of these smooth touch surfaces and touch sensitive buttons, you either don't have any tactile landmarks, or the button activates by simply brushing your finger over it. Those are not conducive to preventing distracted driving. Attention has to be taken away from the road to make simple adjustments.

As for the voice control, it simply isn't good enough yet. Will it get there? Given time, most certainly yes. I look forward to the day I can give my car natural language commands and it know exactly what I want.

Technology should improve the experience, not get in the way of it. Let technology progress, but until it is perfected, keep what works. Who said the two cannot coexist for a while? Ford had this idea for a really cool and flashy dash design and forgot to make sure it was better.

The 2011 Edge Limited with the Sony stereo is just like the Explorer, glossy smooth surfaces on the radio.

Doing everything from the gauge cluster requires more attention than is necessary. When voice command or those d-pads on the steering wheel can turn the A/C fan to max as fast as I can by reaching over and cranking the knob without taking my eyes off the road, I'd be happy.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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