SYNC has given Ford a much-needed technology boost. The infotainment device provides motorists with features such as voice-controlled integration with MP3 players and automatic calls to emergency services in the event of an accident. For the 2010 model year, SYNC adds GPS hardware, giving owners access to traffic, directions, and information.

SYNC TDI works through your Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone to deliver real-time traffic information and turn by turn directions. SYNC TDI can also be personalized to deliver real-time updates of sports scores, weather, entertainment news and more. There is no subscription fee, either, because SYNC TDI uses your existing phone service, which you're already paying for.

This update is now available at syncmyride.com for owners of SYNC-equipped 2010 model-year Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models. The download only works with vehicles that aren't equipped with Ford's voice-activated navigation system.

To update your SYNC, load the SYNC TDI to a thumb drive, then start your car and plug into the USB port. SYNC will give you two completion notices; at one minute and again within 10 minutes. Once the download is complete, you have to reconnect your USB device to your computer, Log into syncmyride.com, and register the successful download. It's a bit of a bulky process to get SYNC TDI operational, but we're guessing real-time traffic, weather, sports, and directions will be worth your trouble. Hit the jump to pore over Ford's detailed press release.

[Source: Ford]


PRESS RELEASE:

NEW FORD SYNC APPLICATION - TRAFFIC, DIRECTIONS AND INFORMATION - READY FOR FREE DOWNLOAD

SUMMARY:

* Current owners of early-launched 2010 vehicles equipped with Ford SYNC now can visit www.syncmyride.com and download and install the latest application – Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI) – at home for no additional cost
* SYNC TDI connects a customer's Bluetooth-enabled cell phone to Ford's Service Delivery Network voice portal delivering turn-by-turn driving directions, real-time traffic, business searches and favorite news, sports and weather – all through simple voice commands
* Eligible customers can download this latest SYNC application similar to the way they would download a song from an online media store such as Apple's iTunes
* TDI will be available on all 2010 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles equipped with SYNC, including the all-new Ford Taurus, which arrives in dealerships this summer
* SYNC, when available as an option, retains its retail price of $395, and includes a GPS receiver new for the 2010 model year; TDI services come with no monthly subscription fees for the first three years of vehicle ownership

CONTEXT / BACKGROUND:

Consumers continue to be fascinated with upgradeable, take-it-with-you technology. It started with Portable Navigation Devices (PNDs), which showed incredible promise due to their affordability and convenience. But then came the PC-like Smartphone, which bundled cell phone, Internet, navigation and other must-have data services, and consumers fell in love all over again.

But despite their affordability, popularity of PNDs is decreasing. According to iSuppli Corporation, a market research and consulting firm specializing in electronic value chains, PND's share of device shipments will decline to 30 percent by 2011 from about 50 percent in 2007.

Meanwhile, navigation-enabled mobile devices such as Smartphones will grow to account for 36 percent of total navigation system shipments by 2011. But even Smartphones don't offer customers in-vehicle integration and control of navigation capabilities. That's where Ford steps in.

The latest Ford SYNC application, Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI), ties together the advantages of both technologies, brings in even more options, and offers it in an affordable, widely available package. SYNC TDI leverages a customer's existing mobile phone; includes an integrated GPS receiver to connect customers to real-time turn-by-turn driving directions, traffic reports and business searches; offers extra features and applications such as favorite news, sports and weather; and provides seamless voice-control of all these functions while in the vehicle – at no subscription cost for the first three years of vehicle ownership.

DETAILS:

Current owners of early-launched 2010 Ford Mustang, Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, Lincoln MKZ, and Mercury Milan and Milan Hybrid vehicles equipped with Ford SYNC® now can visit www.syncmyride.com and download the latest application – Traffic, Directions and Information – at no cost.

Eligible vehicles must be equipped with SYNC, but not equipped with Ford's voice-activated navigation system. These vehicles are outfitted with the supporting GPS receiver needed to run SYNC with Traffic, Directions and Information.

The SYNC application is an industry standout, where most add-on applications or services for consumer electronics, such as iPhones, have a fee attached.

Easy Downloading
Eligible vehicle owners can download the free software from www.syncmyride.com to a USB drive and then upload the application to their vehicle via the SYNC system's USB port in their car. Customers also can have the application installed at their local Ford or Lincoln Mercury dealership.

The online download can be found in the Update & Customize section on www.syncmyride.com and is simple to complete, just like grabbing a online song for your digital music player. Once the software is downloaded to the USB drive, in-car installation takes about 10 minutes. The vehicle must be running to begin, and users will receive two completion messages – one approximately 60 seconds into the process and another 5-10 minutes later – for proper installation.

Once the upload is complete, customers must reinsert their USB drive back into their computer to report successful installation on www.syncmyride.com, and then log back into their SYNC account to activate the application.

A Voice Command Away
Ford has partnered with Microsoft and other recognized companies – INRIX, TeleNav, TellMe, M/A-COM and Airbiquity – to enable the new Traffic, Directions and Information voice-activated services to seamlessly connect to real-time data via a customer's Bluetooth-enabled phone – no integrated touch-screen navigation system or unsightly suction-cupped PND required.

The simple voice command, "Services" gets the driver started, with the MicroSoft TellMe voice portal interpreting this request and ready to route it to the appropriate network partner.

Users who say "Traffic," for example, literally can receive personalized traffic reports based on best-in-class content from INRIX, a company that gathers real-time speeds, directions and locations from nearly 1 million commercial trucks and cars driving America's roadways.

In a text message sent to the user's phone and broadcast over the vehicle's audio system in real-time, drivers get the location and severity of accidents or new road construction causing areas of heavy congestion.

Drivers requesting directions can use a variety of search criteria including a 14-million-plus business directory to find their destination, be it a favorite coffee shop or the location of a business meeting. Drivers can say "Search near me" or the name of the business and then say "Connect me," "directions" or "text me the info."

If a user answers "directions," a turn-by-turn route is downloaded from partner Telenav and is spoken to the user over the vehicle's audio system and displayed on the central information display near the radio. All directions incorporate real-time traffic information therefore always providing the best route to the driver.

With this new SYNC application, drivers can also personalize and categorize their favorite media topics, such as sports, weather and news using voice commands or through www.syncmyride.com. Users, for example, can personalize:

* Sports reports featuring scores and highlights for any professional or college team
* Current weather conditions and forecasts based on city, state or zip code
* News of all types – entertainment, business, top stories and technology

The new capabilities are in addition to SYNC applications that 2010 vehicle owners already have been enjoying including hands-free, voice-activated cell phone and digital media player integration as well as the security and convenience applications 911 Assist and Vehicle Health Report.

Service Delivery Network
SYNC TDI is built on the Ford Service Delivery Network, a plug-and-play architecture that gives customers the ability to use a mobile device they are comfortable with – in this case a simple Bluetooth-enabled cell phone – to access best-in-class offerings from the mobile electronics industry.

This network also gives Ford the power to mirror successful online digital stores, delivering value-add SYNC applications and updates through friendly and familiar software delivery methods – something no other automaker can claim.

More importantly, the network makes these applications and services available to a wider range of customers and products. Customers that purchase more entry-level vehicles like the Ford Focus, where a navigation systems is not an available option, can now enjoy integrated capabilities such as turn-by-turn navigation through the affordable SYNC system.

The concept of building a flexible, upgradeable service delivery network that takes the latest and greatest from the electronics world and appropriately applies it to the car has made SYNC a technological differentiator for Ford – and a market success. There are now 1 million SYNC-equipped Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles on the road.

The upcoming full launch of SYNC TDI on nearly all 2010 model year Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles will build on that momentum, with internal studies showing that roughly 1 in 5 non-Ford owners saying they would be much more likely to consider a Ford, Lincoln or Mercury product because of the breadth of features offered with this latest SYNC application.

And Ford's aggressive plan to further expand SYNC's capabilities, as well as the way drivers interface with their vehicles, will continue to parallel the fast-paced world of consumer electronics