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Ford Sync: Just $395

My hard drive is failing miserably, so I’m trying to post everything I can before a replacement drive arrives. Some of it is a week or so old, some of it deserves more detail, so I apologize.

Ford has announced the pricing of its in-vehicle Sync system, which uses Microsoft Windows Automotive technology and is available as a $395 option in Ford’s Focus, Edge, Fusion, Taurus (and Taurus X), Explorer, and Sport-Trac, the Mercury Mountaineer, Sable and Milan, and the Lincoln MKX and MKZ. Sync brings speech recognition to control music off a Zune, iPod or even a Flash drive, seemless pairing with a Bluetooth phone and switching of calls to the car system, the ability to read incoming text messages and caller ID out loud, hands-free dialing and conference calling.

Here’s a selection from my liveblog of Bill Gates keynote at CES earlier this year, where he talked about Sync:

He talks about the new deal with Ford, brings out a Ford exec. Called “Sync”, it works with phone and music players, completely exclusive. Integrates all electronic devices into the vehicle, accessing full voice command capability of your phone over Bluetooth, with the whole phone book and ring tones over the cards audio system. You can maintain a call when entering and exiting a vehice. It will read your text messages back to you. Accepts nearly all portable music players, portable storage devices, flash drives and zip drives. Fully upgradeable, so future proof. They’re rolling it out affordably, and on a dozen Ford cars this year, including the Ford Focus.

And more from the pre-keynote gossip:

Microsoft and Ford are set to announce today the full details of a in-car communications and entertainment system from Microsoft to be installed in a dozen Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models starting later this year. Todd Bishop has a lot of the details, including that it will connect via USB to all sorts of portable devices, including the iPod, and through a special agreement with Apple, it will even play copy-protected iTunes music!

The system, which Ford will call “Sync”, also connects to mobile phones through Bluetooth for hands-free calling, will place microphones inside the car and broadcast calls over the speakers, show caller ID and other info (like songs or radio stations currently playing) on a display, let users browse address books and initiate calls with voice commands, among other options.

August 22nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | no comments

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