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Ford SYNC is a factory-installed, in-car communications and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft. It is based on the Microsoft Auto platform. The system is currently offered on 12 different Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles in North America, starting with the 2008 model year.

Contents

Overview

Ford SYNC allows drivers to bring nearly any mobile phone and some digital media players into their vehicle and operate them using voice commands, the vehicle’s steering wheel, or radio controls.[1]

The technology was announced by Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally at the annual North American International Auto Show in January 2007. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates made an appearance via live satellite.

Ford SYNC allows various portable devices (e.g., the iPod, Zune, and most other USB mass storage devices) and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones to be operated with simple voice commands. SYNC can even receive text messages and read them aloud using a digitized female voice “Samantha”. SYNC can interpret a hundred or so shorthand messages such as LOL for “laughing out loud” and will read swear words; it will not however, decipher obscene acronyms.

As a stand-alone option, the MSRP is $395.

Ranked #4 on Popular Mechanics—The Top 10 Most Brilliant Gadgets of 2007. [2] Recognized by Popular Science magazine with a "Best of What's New Award" for 2008 in November 2007.[2]

Vehicles offering Sync

The following vehicles are SYNC capable, available as either an optional or standard feature. The date next to each vehicle indicates in which model year Sync was first available on that specific vehicle. *Note: On some models, Sync is not available on certain trim levels.

Features

  • Traffic, Directions and Information Services: On May 27, 2009, it was announced that traffic, directions and other information Services would be made available on 2010 vehicles equipped with SYNC. These services are being offered free for 3 years to the original owner of the vehicle. They include
    • Traffic Alerts
    • Turn-By-Turn Directions
    • Information Services (weather, sports, news and 411 business search)
  • 911 Assist†: In the event of a serious accident with an air bag deployment, the 911 Assist feature will make a direct call to a local 911 emergency operator. Before initiating the emergency 911 call, SYNC will provide a 10-second window to allow the driver or passenger to decide whether to cancel the call. If not manually cancelled within the 10-second window, SYNC will place the emergency call. A pre-recorded message will play when the call is answered, and occupants in the vehicle will then be able to communicate directly with the 911 operator.
  • Vehicle Health Reports†: After setting their personal preferences online, users can access free car reports at any time using SYNC. This feature will be released with SYNC version 2.0. All current SYNC owners will have access to upgrade to this version. [3]
  • Voice-activated, hands-free calling: Using the “Push to Talk” button on the steering wheel allows the user to access anyone on their mobile phone’s contact list by voice command.
  • Uninterrupted connections: Pushing the “Telephone” button on the steering wheel will automatically transfer a current telephone call to the SYNC system without having to hang up and call again.
  • Audible text messages: SYNC can convert text messages to audio and will read them out loud.
  • Advanced calling features: SYNC displays the same features as the mobile phone used, such as caller ID, call waiting, conference calling, a caller log, a list of contacts, a signal strength icon, and a phone battery charge icon.
  • Voice-activated music: SYNC allows you to browse through music collections by genre, album, artist, and song title using simple voice commands.
  • Instant voice recognition: Allows users to avoid any complicated programming or reading aloud of prewritten scripts for SYNC to recognize their voice.
  • Ring tone support: SYNC will play personal ring tones assigned to identify specific callers.
  • Automatic phonebook transfer: SYNC will wirelessly transfer the names and numbers in a mobile phonebook automatically.
  • Multilingual intelligence: SYNC is fluent in English, Canadian French, and Mexican Spanish. [4]

†Italicized features only available on 2009.5 and later model years, or via a software update [5]

System

The system is based on an ARM 11 processor, uses 256MB of DRAM and 2GB of flash memory, runs the Microsoft Auto operating system [6] and speech technology by Nuance Communications. Utilizing the USB port, SYNC's Windows-based operating system can be updated to work with new personal electronic devices, which consumers tend to swap out more frequently than their vehicles.

Current Version: 3.1

References

  • Source: Ford Motor Company

External links








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