• Dec 31st 2009 at 8:27AM
  • 12
When you think Microsoft car technology you think SYNC, right? Perfectly natural, since it's the only place Redmond's bits and bytes have made much of an impact on the automotive scene. But SYNC is just Ford's flavor of Microsoft's Windows Embedded Technologies -- naturally with plenty of customizations and functionality on top. It's not an exclusive partnership and we've known for some time now that Hyundai and Kia were next in line to get some love from Washington. Kia's time has come, with the company set to launch UVO at CES next week. The only question now is: What exactly is it?

We spoke with representatives from Microsoft and Kia on Wednesday, where they unveiled the UVO name, explained as being short for "your voice." Because of that we expect there will be a strong focus on speech recognition in this system, but beyond that it's anyone's guess what the latest automotive infotainment system will be packing -- those same representatives were tight-lipped about the details. Naturally we expect it'll be generally similar to Ford's SYNC, but Kia is a very different sort of company than the one Henry built, so surely a much fresher look and feel is in store at the very least.

Ford recently announced that it would be letting outside developers augment SYNC's functionality, and after the amazing success of Apple's App Store it'd be a shame if Kia didn't support the booming app market from the start (just think of all the telemetry systems a developer could build with access to vehicle sensor data and a three-axis accelerometer). All will be unveiled at next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where Ford will be similarly showing off its latest SYNC revisions. Which infotainment system will reign supreme? We can't wait to find out.

[Source: Kia, Microsoft]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      My understanding, is that Ford still has 1.5-2 year exclusivity on any updates to Sync. So, while some will be starting to use the initial versions, noone can have as sophisticated of a system as Ford can.

      Of course, I may be wrong.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Unless some technologies debut on something other than SYNC, right? If it's on SYNC first, it's on SYNC exclusive for 1.5 years. But if it debuts on another in-car system (even from MS), it isn't timed-exclusive to SYNC and might even be timed-exclusive to NOT be on SYNC for a while.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It'd be interesting to see UVO (and SYNC) develop an option like you discussed that reveals the performance characteristic and ecu-tuning type parameter views (while not allowing adjustment obviously). I think a GTR-esque feedback and data system in cars like the Genesis Coupe and Mustang would be an awesome feature.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It will most likely be siilar to GM's Onstar capabilities. At least that is what Hyundai's plan is. Dont underestimate the Koreans when it comes to telecommunications technologies. They are one of the best in the world.

        • 5 Years Ago
        In fact, our next generation mobile TV standard is based on their Korean technology/specifications.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Microsoft has already festered the household. I cant imagine letting it invade my car.

      (Caution MS hater).

      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmmmm, I wonder when will Apple get into this. There is a lot of money to be made here. Within 3-6 years every new car will have some sort multimedia interface/interaction.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is there any difference between SYNC, Blue & Me, and this? I bet "not much".
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Alpine system in the Cadillac CTS and SRX also is Windows Mobile Embedded Technology. Does that mean it's the same too?

        From what I can tell, no. Windows Mobile is just a technology, not all implementations will be the same.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Who knows, there's probably a bit of customization between the 3. It seems that everyone (media) tends to forget about Blue & Me though.
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