While at CES we got a personal demonstration of the technology from Scott Porter, lead program manager for Microsoft Auto. The system did everything it is advertised to do, from taking voice commands, to integrating Bluetooth phones with the car to reading text messages received on your mobile phone. The most impressive thing it did was work just as well with Apple's iPod as it did with Microsoft's Zune. None of those tricks are anything different from what dozens of other electronics and even automotive companies are currently offering. One difference is the lack of GPS on SYNC. Could the Microsoft and Ford PR campaign pushing SYNC be the biggest reason for the People's Voice award? Then again, maybe we just don't "get" being able to have " :) " read out loud to us by a feminine digital voice as "smiley face," or the usefulness of taking 30 seconds or more to interrupt the music to ask SYNC what song is currently playing. We're looking forward to reading Popular Mechanics reasons for liking SYNC. Perhaps they saw something we didn't.
For the full Ford press release, click through to the jump.
Sync™, the in-vehicle voice-activated technology and entertainment system developed in partnership with Microsoft, is this year's "People's Voice" award winner at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Visitors to CNET (www.cnet.com), an Internet-based media company covering the unveilings this week at the 40th CES, voted Ford Sync™, powered by Microsoft Auto, as the most significant new product introduced at the show.
"This is huge," said a clearly enthused Tim Nixon, manager of Technology Development and Implementation Engineering at Ford. "You cannot believe the attention we have received at this show. At times, the press has been lined up three and four deep at our display area waiting for interviews. This is great news for Ford and Microsoft."
Nixon says the "People's Voice" honor is actually the second received by Sync in Las Vegas this week, having already earned the "Editor's Choice" award from Popular Mechanics magazine on Monday.
Sync allows consumers to bring nearly any mobile phone or digital media player into their vehicles and operate them by voice command, or by using the steering wheel or radio controls.
With nearly 60 million digital music devices sold in the U.S. and more than 80 percent of the country's households using cell phones, connectivity is becoming increasingly important to consumers -- anytime, any place.
"With Sync, you can travel with your Zune or iPod and access its features using the vehicle's controls, and the full capability of your Bluetooth cell phone will be just a voice command away," said Mark Fields, Ford executive vice president, to media members gathered at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) at Sync's Detroit reveal Sunday.
"We're going to roll it out quickly and affordably in 12 new vehicles, starting with the 2008 Ford Focus, because the market potential is absolutely enormous," Fields said.
Sync will also debut later this year on the 2008 Ford Fusion, Five Hundred, Edge, Freestyle, Explorer and Sport Trac, along with the Mercury Milan, Montego, Mountaineer, and on the Lincoln MKX and MKZ.
The technology, exclusive to Ford Motor Company through 2008, will be expanded to all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles in the near future.
For more information on Sync, visit www.SyncMyRide.com.