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February 13, 2013

Amazon Cloud Player Lands in Ford Sync-Enabled Cars

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

For many, the FM radio built into many cars just isn't that appealing any more. Why not have music that's immediately customizable to a user's taste, without commercial interruption or DJ patter that can be less than scintillating? But now there's a new option that's just come available in cars packing Ford Sync AppLink technology in the form of the Amazon Cloud Player, now available at last report from Amazon itself.

The inclusion of Amazon's Cloud Player system allows those with an iOS or Android (News - Alert) smartphone and a car with Ford Sync to connect their phone's Amazon MP3 app to the Sync system. iOS devices connecting will require a cable to connect, while Android devices will be able to take advantage of Bluetooth connectivity for a wireless connection. This in turn will allow users not only access to their music libraries, but it will also allow them to peruse those libraries with voice commands and audio controls, making it easier to select songs without the risk of a traffic accident or the like.

Ford had earlier announced the use of similar apps, including a full slate of nine such apps at the recent CES (News - Alert) event, for a grand total of 20 apps available. That puts a lot of value into Ford Sync, and gives users plenty of alternatives in terms of what they can do in their cars while they're driving. Couple this development on to Amazon's earlier release of the AutoRip system—which can provide customers with free MP3 versions of certain CDs purchased on Amazon—and the value only improves from there.

The idea of bringing MP3 functionality to cars isn't a bad idea at all, especially if it can be done safely as voice controls would certainly imply it could. Now users not only have access to the FM radio, their own CDs and their own MP3 players, but they jam out to a wider selection of cloud-based music, which is going to be very welcome for those who do a lot of driving, especially when that driving takes them out of range of their favorite radio stations. It's likely to put a lot of pressure on satellite radio services like Sirius XM, but at the same time those companies have their own value-add propositions to make them worthwhile.

While there's still some room to grow in this particular development like adding functionality for Windows Phone (News - Alert) devices as well as Android, the end result is still looking pretty good for anyone who has a lot of driving to do and finds the current slate of options less than palatable.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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