Ford has been equipping many of its vehicles
with the Sync system as a low-cost option for a few model years. Sync was one
of the first voice controls and hands free infotainment systems to be
integrated into mainstream vehicles and since then several other makers have introduced
their own solutions.
Chevrolet is one of
the last major brands that hasn’t offered a similar option on its cars. That
has now changed with the introduction of Chevrolets MyLink service that is at
its core nearly exactly like Sync. Sync and the MyLink from Chevy are both
powered by Nuance technology for voice commands and the tech has its good and
bad points. It struggles a bit with accents at times, and other times the
Nuance voice tech will recognize a command easily and five minutes later have a
hard time executing the same command.
Chevrolet has integrated the MyLink system to
start with into its 2011 Volt and Equinox vehicles. The option will come to
other vehicles later. The MyLink system builds on OnStar according to Chevy and
also allows users to access apps on their smartphones like Pandora and Stitcher
SmartRadio using Bluetooth connectivity to the user's smartphone. Sync can do
those things too.
"There is a new generation of car buyers who
don't want to settle for mass market radio," said Rick Scheidt, vice
president of Chevrolet Marketing. "They want to create their own
individual stations and have access to them wherever they are. Chevrolet
vehicles have offered customers the ability to use portable media devices since
2006 and the introduction of MyLink takes media personalization to a new
"Chevrolet MyLink is the next logical step
for in-vehicle connectivity," said Karl Stracke, vice president for Global
Product Engineering. "MyLink leverages the mobile broadband
capability and the sophisticated, online services made possible by today's
MyLink has USB connectivity and uses Gracenote.
Gracenote is able to look at the tunes on the user's smartphone or MP3 player
and will shoot the album art and track details to the MyLink screen on the dash
of the car, album art is something Sync can't do right now.
Ford has caught some heat for the difficult to
use nature of Sync coupled with MyFord Touch. Recently Consumer Reports noted
that the system was hard to use and Ford is actually offering courses
on using the system at dealers.