Roadshow Video Reviews
Ford Sync hits the streetMicrosoft and Ford want to make your car's iPod connector look like a kludge. The Sync just might do that.
>> So many damn portable devices. And you get in your car and there's a mix of ways to connect them. It's kind of chaotic, right? Well, let's see what Microsoft and Ford have done with a system called Sync. We've showed it to you before, but now it's going into production, rolling out in real Ford cars. Let's give it a real test. ^M00:00:16 [ Music ]^M00:00:18 >> Now first of all let me refresh you on what Sync is. It's a combination of USB or Bluetooth connectivity for portables to the head unit in the car. For example, here inside the compartment of the console, here's a unit hooked up to a USB jack right here on the console wall. They've got this working for just about every portable out there. You can hook up an iPod this way. You can also hook up phones to this via Bluetooth. Whether it's a Dash, a Razor, a Trio, you hook that up via Bluetooth via hands-free calling and to stream media off the phone if you have some on there. I'll show you that in a minute. Here's what it looks like on the screen. You've got the usual AM, FM, other satellite radio, CD, and here's User Device. That's a whole new menu we're seeing. Look at this button here. Source. If I press that I'm toggling between Bluetooth streaming, hit it again, and then my USB jack is lined up. Very interesting. Now here in my phone menu, I can also go change and pair to one of either of the two Bluetooth phones. There are to Bluetooth radios in this car. It's a key thing to realize. So you can have one device paired as a phone and another one can be paired as a media player simultaneously. Now let's go back to the media menu. Bluetooth Streaming, and let's see if we can hear that. Sure enough, there it is. One thing you'll notice is when you're on Bluetooth you don't get as rich of a read-out of the track information, nor is your entire library of track information, the meta data, up-loaded. That is done when you're using USB. Now I'm going to send a text message from this Trio, and I'm going send a message to this car. There's my message. I'm using an emoticon in there. I'll go ahead and send now. Now while that's arriving let me show you a couple of nice things here. The Bluetooth technology that we're using is able to echo not just things like the call status and the number you're dialing and all of that, but here's a battery charge indicator, and also here's a signal strength indicator icon. That's nice. Okay, that means my message just came in. Now notice I can view it and see it exactly as it was sent. Okay. There it is. Or I can listen to it. Now here's the real challenge. Let's see how that sounds. >> Car: Hey Brian. How's the Sync system? Laughing out loud. See you later. Happy smiley. >> Okay, not bad. Not bad. Especially considering that there's so many ways to compose a message. Okay, I got my message, I heard it, and I want to reply. I hit the reply button right here, and here are a variety of prepopulated replies. I can scroll through quite a few of these right here. Now at this point that's your only choice within this system to reply. Later on they say they will enable it so you can create your own replies and feed those or populate those in the list as well. One thing Microsoft and Ford are crowing about is how good their voice recognition is with things like artist names and tracks. Let's face it, artist names can be weird for a system like this to figure out. So let's try one here. User device. >> Car: USB. Please say a command. >> Play artist Beyonce. >> Car: Playing artist Beyonce. >> Not bad. That's not the most obvious artist name for a computer to figure out. Oh, by the way, I know the question you want to ask. Does it work with the iPhone. Yes, Microsoft has tested it, and it does work through a combination of USB and auxiliary feed for the audio. Interesting. Now let's talk about the availability. Lincolns will have this standard for the '08 model year cars. Many of the high-end Fords will as well, and a whole lot of cars are going to have it by '09. Price point, around $400.