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November 07, 2012

Microsoft and Ford Celebrate Five Years of Making SYNC-Equipped Vehicles

By Daniel Brecht, Contributing Writer

Five years after launching the SYNC platform, Ford and Microsoft (News - Alert) announced the five millionth SYNC-enabled vehicle sold. Going forward, the two companies look to the next phase of the connected car experience: To offer play back music from iPods and cloud-based services, which will require on-board sensors and data access to the Internet.

This partnership between Ford and Microsoft, involving the use of factory-installed SYNC units for the purpose of in-vehicle communications and entertainment, has them celebrating its success. Five million SYNC-equipped vehicles on the road prove they’re successfully working together to turn the connected vehicle into an intelligent one.

The Ford SYNC is a small onboard computer system developed by Microsoft that uses a Windows-embedded software platform that can wirelessly integrate mobile devices. It allows connectivity for Ford model cars to make hands-free telephone calls, and send and receive audible SMS messages. Messages are read and sent out loud so the driver does not need to take his or her eyes off the road.

Ford Motor Company believes this is one of the main benefits of SYNC’s voice commands powered by Nuance (News - Alert) voice recognition technology, which enables a driving experience that's more personalized, convenient and safe.

According to the latest consumer trends on the latest in-car technology, and shown in sequels for SYNC introduced at Consumer Electronic Shows (CES (News - Alert)), no other in-dash computer system, to date, seems to compare to the Ford SYNC when it comes to in-car infotainment systems with voice-recognition control. Not only does it have the capability to play certain entertainment media via Bluetooth or USB connection with compatible phones and devices – or make use of an automotive navigation system ideal for driving directions – but running the Microsoft Auto operating system gives drivers the option to use their voice to control mobile apps while driving. 

Image via Shutterstock

The interface for Sync-enabled cars makes drivers very safe when driving and talking on their cell-phone at the same time. The voice-recognition platform in Ford models is an indispensable part to help the driver keep focused on the road while driving.

As for the future, there are talks about having SYNC equipment built in some of the Ford models abroad. Ford envisions fast-growing Europe and Asian auto markets for cars equipped with in-car connectivity, mobile technology, voice recognition technology, and fast wireless data connections.

It’s an approach that could significantly increase sales, according to Gartner (News - Alert) analyst Thilo Koslowski, and affect consumer expectations for new functionalities and features in automobiles.

Edited by Braden Becker
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