Over four million Ford cars now have SYNC inside

In late 2007, the first Ford car came off the assembly line that had the SYNC technology inside. This feature, which was co-developed by Microsoft, has now been installed in over four million Ford vehicles. The number was revealed today in a joint press release from Ford and Microsoft.

The companies are now promoting the SYNC technology in a new vehicle, the Focus Electric, an all electric version of the popular car. One of the benefits of using Microsoft-developed technology for the Focus Electric is that it takes half the time to recharge the car, compared to the rival Nissan Leaf.

The version of SYNC on board the Ford Focus Electric can handle both touch and voice commands for a variety of uses, including navigation, entertainment and more.

Ben Smith, the director of program management for Windows Embedded at Microsoft, is quoted in the press release as saying:

Microsoft technology is opening up new possibilities for the connected car in areas that both augment and transcend today's systems. From using simple voice commands to navigate to the nearest coffee shop or manage the interior temperature, to using the vehicle's on-board technology to find the most economical place to charge up, Microsoft and Ford are changing the way people interact with their vehicle.

 

Source: Microsoft/Ford press release | Image via Ford

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TsarNikky said,
Another gizmo to add to all the other mechanisms distracting drivers from paying attention to the road.

Heyyyey - thatt is sooo ntootot true!!@!....(while driving, eating lunch, doing make-up and talking on the phone...)

TsarNikky said,
Another gizmo to add to all the other mechanisms distracting drivers from paying attention to the road.

I have one in my car. It's voice recognition is excellent and allows complete hands free phone and controls of music/iPod, etc. (like "Play All" or "Play Artist The Beatles").

That has not only made my driving experience better but massively safer. No fumbling for the phone to dial, answer, etc. etc. Hell, even the car's speakers and microphone are better than my blackberry's. 8P

To quote Ferris Bueller, "It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."

TsarNikky said,
Another gizmo to add to all the other mechanisms distracting drivers from paying attention to the road.

Go look at Microsoft AutoPC from 1998, the first version of the technolgy. The concept behind it was to have a minimal 'screen/UI' and be a converstation based inteface to the Car that didn't require any attention or create distractions.

Knight Rider didn't have to look at anything to tell Kitt to play a song or do something, the AutoPC design is the same concept. Sure the Dash controls are also integrated now, but if you look back at a 1985/1986 Buick Rivera, it had a full on touch screen control panel as well, and that was a long time ago, and it didn't have voice so that you could ignore the dash if you wanted.

thenetavenger said,


Knight Rider didn't have to look at anything to tell Kitt to play a song or do something, the AutoPC design is the same concept.

You don't need to ever touch the Sync screen to control it. Volume/call/voice buttons are on the steering wheel. Everything else is by speaking commands. So yes, those days are here.

drazgoosh said,
I haven't seen any cars with SYNC. Mainly because I've never been in a Ford.

That's OK, other auto manufacturers are using their own flavours of Windows Automotive, reaching the market soon.

drazgoosh said,
I haven't seen any cars with SYNC. Mainly because I've never been in a Ford.

Where you live or personal preference?

I have never been a Ford fan, with my grandfather complaining about them over the years (he was a dealer/mechanic/autobody expert), and more recently my brother is a race car driver that isn't a fan of Ford either.

My 'touch' with ford was my love of RX7s years ago, and Mazda and Ford were partners on many projects, although the RX7 didn't have Ford technology, some of the Mazda technology from it ended up in a few Fords.

I currently stick with Vettes, even with the flaws, they are a technology flagship for GM, and have impressive technology long before other cars. They are also a well oiled sports car, that can take whatever you throw at them on the highway, finding a way to best Porsche and Ferrari in circumstances that most people would not expect.

Who knows though, put Windows 8 at the heart of Sync in a fast sports car (not a Mustang), and I would consider making it my full time car.

Have one of the cars w/ Sync from 2008. Sadly, MS/Ford pretty much stopped supporting it by 2009 - no updates, no real response on requests for features that could be added, and no way to get a new version of the Sync system because it was tightly integrated. I like the concept and overall I like Sync, but wish that updates and features could still be added without buying a brand new car. Right now I'd love a way to not autoplay on my bluetooth phone and instead let me choose when to start playing audio or at least an option for that. I guess when I get my next new car in several years that might be an option.

paschott said,
Have one of the cars w/ Sync from 2008. Sadly, MS/Ford pretty much stopped supporting it by 2009 - no updates, no real response on requests for features that could be added, and no way to get a new version of the Sync system because it was tightly integrated. I like the concept and overall I like Sync, but wish that updates and features could still be added without buying a brand new car. Right now I'd love a way to not autoplay on my bluetooth phone and instead let me choose when to start playing audio or at least an option for that. I guess when I get my next new car in several years that might be an option.

Stopped supporting it? In 2010, they committed to putting Sync in virtually every Ford sold as a standard feature, which they did.

The upgrade problem you may be hitting is if your Ford in 2009 didn't have all the newer single wire network systems, as this communication and functionality is essential to where Sync was designed to go and would leave behind older integration systems.

Ford is like any other MFR too, they would like to sell you a new car with even more features. This generation of Ford Sync cars should offer more upgrade features. In theory if Ford wanted to put out the money, they could offer a full Windows 8 NT based version of Sync with a drop down screen or Metro information projected on the Windshield, as the ARM class CPUs in the cars meet Windows 8 requirements with a few tweaks. (I doubt you will see this happen, but in theory, a hacker could make it happen. )

My mom's car has the original Sync system and it is very impressive. Voice control is very accurate and helpful and bluetooth pairs easily with the system. Granted bluetooth in cars is now somewhat of a given, it's still nice for its age. I haven't seen the new Sync systems but I bet they're equally as impressive.

Jimmy422 said,
My mom's car has the original Sync system and it is very impressive. Voice control is very accurate and helpful and bluetooth pairs easily with the system. Granted bluetooth in cars is now somewhat of a given, it's still nice for its age. I haven't seen the new Sync systems but I bet they're equally as impressive.

You do mean 'Sync', as the original Microsoft Automobile/AutoPC technology came out in 1998, and was first offered on third party decks like from Clarion. It was then used over the years in various high end decks for voice and GPS.

The platform and technology from Microsoft was waiting for automakers to move more to single wire communication in vehicles, which gives the platform full access to all on-board computers and access to every sensor and switch, for example rolling down a Window is just sending a command along the power cable to the Window motor, instead of a series of switches and bulky wire.

There are a lot of 'Decks' over the years that use Microsoft Auto/Sync, but don't advertise it as being the core technology, especially in the XP and anti-trust era.

Just like a lot of GPS devices and other automotive voice and navigation technologies are running WindowsCE (Microsoft AutoPC/Sync) and people don't ever notice.

The recent trend in adding voice and other features to cars in the past couple of years is a direct result of what Ford and Microsoft did with Sync, by giving it credibility when people got use to it and found that it worked better than expected for a comprehensive vehicle interface system.

Sadly though, many of the voice controlled system that are not Microsoft Sync/AutoPC based don't perform as well, which is giving the concept a bad name in other car brands, especially when it is an expensive luxury car and cheap Ford with Sync works just fine.

I am personally not a Ford Fan, with a few Lincolns and the new Taurus impressing me for performance, and comfort. I wish I could get Sync in a Corvette from the factory, so in this area, I am jealous of Ford.

Eins.MY said,
Somehow the UI shown above looks more like Apple iOS than usual Microsoft UI

Microsoft catered to what its users needed. They did not need a Start button or folders, they needed a slick touch interface.

Go see Metro on WP7/8 for more examples.

ccoltmanm said,

Microsoft catered to what its users needed. They did not need a Start button or folders, they needed a slick touch interface.

Go see Metro on WP7/8 for more examples.


That looks WAY better than Metro. It has nice gradients, more than two color icons, etc. Metro, while great on a tiny phone screen with limited space, looks like Windows 3.1 on full size monitors with multiple windows.

Eins.MY said,
Somehow the UI shown above looks more like Apple iOS than usual Microsoft UI

Um, the UI is customizable, and not something Microsoft dictates, so Ford or whoever uses the technology can design the UI as they want using the Microsoft MVVM development tools added in newer versions that have full UI support.

Think Silverlight or WPF interface design, and Microsoft not caring what Ford does with it.