Hands on: MyFord Touch, powered by Microsoft Auto

Today at CES 2010 Neowin got a detailed hands on with the new MyFord Touch driver connect technology which is powered by Microsoft Auto and Ford SYNC.

Ford announced the latest revision of SYNC and this touch edition at CES this year. The MyFord touch includes an 8" touch screen, 5-way button controls, voice control and navigation. The unit will also allow you to adjust the climate in the car and use entertainment functions such as FM radio, CD, MP3 and Sirius radio. The system includes a built in browser for use when the car is parked. The new system also supports plugging in your mobile phone or USB broadband modem to provide the car with an internet signal.

Media sources include AM/FM radio, CD, HD Radio, Sirius satellite radio, portable MP3 players, USB drives and SD cards. The MyFord touch will also support video files whist in park from sources connected by USB, SD card or RCA inputs. Not only is this an entertainment device and navigation system but it also allows you to control incoming and outgoing calls hands free. Contact photos, birthday notifications and audible text message reading are all included using Bluetooth for connection to your mobile phone.

The system is impressive to say the least. Neowin also looked at Kia's Microsoft Auto offering earlier this week, however the Kia system struggled on voice recognition which is something we were unable to test with the Ford system as the unit was pre-production.

The system will debut in the 2011 Lincoln MKX.


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uhm... usually these type of devices are OEM, meaning they are not sold in stores and only come with new vehicles. Why is that? Why do I have to look on eBay to try to buy one of these things?

I'm sure they would have purchased the music... There are no laws I'm aware of that bar you from making a mixed tape of music you own... LOL

The BSOD joke makes no sense and is not even funny. Do people actually believe their system will BSOD and cause them to die?

All incar systems have a reset function because of occasional freezing. My Audi's has frozen once in a few months.

Oh I can see it now...you're driving down the interstate at 70mph, and the darn thing BSOD's and you crash literally into a rock bluff LOL.
(I've driven Ford's for 40 years).

im sure they wouldnt be using windows. And if they did, I highly doubt you would get bsod as hardly any1 ever gets them on new systems, except xp.

naap51stang said,
Oh I can see it now...you're driving down the interstate at 70mph, and the darn thing BSOD's and you crash literally into a rock bluff LOL.
(I've driven Ford's for 40 years).

because the system ties right into your throttle and brake system? *rolls eyes* this joke isn't even funny anymore

neufuse said,
because the system ties right into your throttle and brake system? *rolls eyes* this joke isn't even funny anymore

LOL, but the zing is... haha

only way i can see it happening is if like, you utterly reliant on the GPS and its maps, and someone has painted a tunnel entrance on a cliff face...

In the late 80's I was working at a Toyota dealer, & according to the district reps, Toyota was testing prototypes with a pretty complete range of voice controls. Drivers hated it, & the project went away. A good example of tech failing not because it didn't work, but because it was simply too far ahead of its time. Without the voice recognition tech we have today, from what I remember the car would match your voice with a stored recording -- it was thought secure enough that they did away with the ignition key.

For those thinking the tech to run Sync is some huge advancement, cars have had computers running things for ~30 years -- 40 years if you count the electronics to run fuel injection, electronic ignition, cruise, ABS etc. Want a quick performance boost? Don't bother messing with things under the hood -- buy one of the gadgets to re-program/tweak the car's built-in computer.

And yes, those on-board computers can go bad. Worst case I'm aware of, in the 80's a handful of Toyota's then top-of-the-line models had computers go haywire, it was thought from radio interference... in the cases I heard about, it activated the cruise control to put the pedal to the metal -- at a stop light! Worst thing you can do? Give a car a salt water bath... Whenever you see flooding from a hurricane etc, cars caught in it are practically speaking totaled. Those on-board computers work with sensors that send it precise voltages -- salt gets into the wiring, those voltages change dramatically, & literally drive the computer nuts. Replace parts & fix one problem, another will crop up... fix that & you'll have another, & another, & another. I've seen shops buy cars insurance wouldn't total, just so they could scrap them -- that was the only way to get them off the property! Unfortunately these nightmares on wheels often wind up sold out of state by dishonest brokers - beware. Most common problem I'm aware of = Engine Lights coming on for no, known reason... you might be surprised how many are *fixed* at the dealer by simply cutting a wire (or 2 or 3) to disable a circuit.

At any rate, maybe that helps give a bit of perspective on SYNC. It's not revolutionary, except maybe the fact the market's finally ready for voice command; voice command makes it possible to use touchscreens, which are more or less useless if you're moving [when you'd use voice command as an alternative]. It's most likely an add-on, replacing for example the regular climate controls, but not integrated into the car's electronics enough to pose any potentially serious problems. The multiple inputs, GPS, bluetooth, & video are nothing new, having been available for years, though often as add-ons. Phone integration has been around since the '70's -- Chrysler had a nice setup -- before there were cells as we know them.

SYNC is IMHO cool, but to me the notable part is that the mass market's finally ready.

They're probably only ready for voice command because when you call customer service, you get automated tellers at the beginning most of the time.

You're absolutely right. Sometimes things just are ahead of their time... I imagine the public would really fight something like that in the 80's... Now everyone wants speech recognition... So I think a lot of people are going to make good use of this. But speech isn't mandatory. From what you said of Toyota's offering, they did away with the ignition key... It may have been Toyota's reliance on this feature that annoyed consumers.

There is far too much information going on there. I thought the idea of voice control is you don't have to take your eyes off the road. It felt like Jupiter and Beyond watching that.

I wonder what Henry Ford would think if he could watch this. I envy people that chase there dreams and make them into an empire. He definitely makes my top 10 list of American entrepreneurs.

How are you going to afford a new Ford at 16? Unless your parents are rich and doing payments and car insurance for you, seems unlikely you could get all that money by 16...

source: I'm 16 and I could never afford a new Ford.

Electric Jolt said,
How are you going to afford a new Ford at 16? Unless your parents are rich and doing payments and car insurance for you, seems unlikely you could get all that money by 16...

source: I'm 16 and I could never afford a new Ford.

Lots of kids (that I know) get new cars when they turn 16.....people at my school get new HUMMERS when they turn 16. Yeah. Distribution of wealth isn't too fair.

Electric Jolt said,
How are you going to afford a new Ford at 16? Unless your parents are rich and doing payments and car insurance for you, seems unlikely you could get all that money by 16...

source: I'm 16 and I could never afford a new Ford.

is the Cash For Clunkers program still running? do your parents have old cars they could get rid of...

warwagon said,
I still like my GPS mounted on the bottom left of my windshield.

I prefer standalone GPS devices too, because if something goes wrong with them it's a heck of a lot easier to repair / replace / upgrade...

In some states you can't have the GPS mounted on the windshield, so I'm not sure if that's a new trend. I got a vent mount for mine, and I really like that...

I REALLY I mean REALLY would love for the new ford focus to be close to the Ford Focus RS that is in Europe. Combine the SYNC technology and a turbo focus and I'd be so happy.

lol - she couldn't get the climate control screen to respond to anything she touched!
And then she told the reporter he needed his phone connected in the car before GPS system to work!

Microsoft & Car computers, OH NO, "Sorry officer, the car computer crashed, thats why I was speeding, on the wrong side of the road, hit a pedestrian, had the accident, etc etc etc"

hahaha loved the reporters comment: "Wow you can create shortcuts, its ALMOST LIKE A MAC"