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In the sixth major software update to Ford's SYNC system, the automaker is extending Message Access Protocol (MAP) Bluetooth support to select 2011 and 2012 models, giving drivers the ability to have text messages and emails read aloud in their SYNC-equipped vehicles.

MAP Bluetooth support has been available on a number of Ford vehicles since its introduction this year, but the software update (G1 V3.2.2) extends the functionality to supported a number of bluetooth equipped smartphones to allow users to hear SMS, MMS and email messages over the stereo. The update is set to roll out later this month and you can get all the details in the press blast below the fold.
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New SYNC Software Update Adds Bluetooth MAP Standard; Ford Poised to Give More Drivers Safer Texting Alternatives
  • Latest Ford SYNC® software updates will give owners of select SYNC Generation 1-equipped 2011 and 2012 vehicles access to the emerging Bluetooth® standard – Message Access Profile (MAP) – so SYNC can stream and read text messages aloud from compatible smartphones
  • Ford elected to voluntarily adopt MAP in an aggressive effort to improve the number of phones that will work with the hands-free text message readback feature of SYNC
  • Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) sees growing MAP adoption among leading cell phone manufacturers

DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 18, 2011 – Ford has released its latest free SYNC® software update, G1 V3.2.2, to give more SYNC users the ability to have text messages read aloud to them while driving.

Tailored for owners of select SYNC-equipped 2011 and early-release 2012 vehicles, the update includes the emerging Message Access Profile (MAP) Bluetooth® standard, which is custom-made for the automotive hands-free environment and outlines a set of features and procedures used to exchange email, SMS and MMS between devices – in this case SYNC and the smartphone.

Last year, Ford announced it was voluntarily integrating MAP into SYNC for all 2011 MyFord Touch®-equipped vehicles and is now extending the capability to the broader SYNC user community – with thousands of 2011 and 2012 vehicles equipped with the first generation SYNC system.

"A limited population of phones has the capability to work with the text message readback feature of SYNC," said Mark Porter, supervisor of SYNC Product Development. "With our initial adoption of MAP for our latest generation of SYNC and our recent efforts to integrate it into our previous variations of the system, we hope we are setting an example that encourages more collaboration between Ford, the phonemakers and the wireless industry to help drivers find smarter alternatives to hand-held texting while on the road."

According to Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), MAP adoption by mobile device manufacturers is still in its infancy but the growth needle is starting to quiver.

"Texting is becoming a ubiquitous part of our day, so it stands to reason the remote message access profile is an essential addition for handsets, automobiles, headsets and aftermarket car kits," said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director Bluetooth SIG. "The Bluetooth MAP standard gives users the ability to simply and smartly manage incoming text messages from their vehicle while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. We are seeing significant uptake in MAP adoption among phonemakers, in particular with recent qualifications from manufacturers such as HTC, RIM, Samsung and LG."

Ready for an update
Since SYNC launched in 2007, Ford has offered several significant and simple software-based updates. And owners are taking advantage, with software downloads recorded on www.syncmyride.com ranging up to nearly 14,000 each month in 2011.

Major SYNC updates that have been released to date include:
G1 V2.0 – availability of 911 Assist™ and Vehicle Health Report for 2008 SYNC-equipped vehicles (dealership installation required) (December 2008)
G1 V3.0/V3.1 – availability of SYNC Services for Traffic, Directions and Information services for 2010 SYNC-equipped vehicles (June 2009)
G1 V3.2 – improved voice command structure, constant display of turn-by-turn directions and GPS coordinates for 911 Assist for 2011 SYNC-equipped vehicles (April 2010)
G1 V4.0 – AppLink™ software application for hands-free voice control of smartphone apps for the 2011 Ford Fiesta only (December 2010)
G1 V3.2.2 (non-AppLink)/V4.0.2 (AppLink-equipped) – increased MAP support for select 2011 and early-release 2012 SYNC-equipped vehicles with AppLink such as Ford Mustang (May 2011)

Ford owners interested in finding out if their SYNC-equipped vehicle is eligible for any of the available SYNC updates can visit HYPERLINK "http://www.syncmyride.com" www.syncmyride.com and enter their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
        • 3 Years Ago
        Stfu u peice of rice, U spew more bs on this site then anyone else. why dont you get into into ur farted caned honda civic and drive into a wall. AMERICAN cars are way better then you bs honda,
      Master Austin
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love Ford Sync, once you have it, your spoiled and hard to back to anything else. Real time weather, real time traffic, etc. Just amazing how much the system can do.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Master Austin
        Why in the world do you need a service for real-time weather in your car? The only weather that matters is right outside your window.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Dashboard distractions are going to increase the accident rate.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'd be more worried about people texting compared turning up the temperature or changing the radio station. Thankfully, as the article indicates, SYNC equipped vehicles will read messages to you without taking you hands off the wheel. This is the opposite of dashboard distraction.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am Member of the Ford Sync team I can say we are happy to see progress being made on the driver distraction front. It is a much safer alternative to have your texts read aloud via the car speakers rather than attempting to read them while driving in traffic. -Wills Frantz Sync App Link Developer
        Chad C
        • 3 Years Ago
        While having the car read a text aloud may be somewhat convenient and possibly produce a marginal increase in safety, the fact that physical buttons have been replaced by a smooth surface with zero tactile feedback completely erases any gains in safety. Muscle memory no longer factors in grabbing a knob or reaching for a button. Airplanes have real knobs and buttons in the cockpit for a reason, safety and redundancy. Why would Ford engineers feel that the cockpit of my car should be any different? Ford, please let MFT play second fiddle to real knobs and buttons. MFT is a cool toy, but it simply not good enough, nor may it ever be in the near future, to attempt the wholesale shift away from tactile control to voice or touch screen. Bring back real knobs and buttons while MFT is perfected.
        Andre Neves
        • 3 Years Ago
        You guys might be proud because you think you are combating a certain problem, but in reality you are making it worse in the end. Although, you are addressing the physical & visual aspects of driver distractions, you are contributing to the mental one even more. A person needs to be be 100% focus on the road & their driving. Not, 75%...not 96%. When driving down there road, we driver needs to quickly think and anticipate events before they actually happen. That's something that is a bit more difficult to do when your mind is focus on the Penis Enlargment email that is being read to you while behind the wheel.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I agree with Andre & Chad. Reading text messages improves safety the same as wearing a bullet-proof vest while someone shoots at you. Sure, you are less likely to be injured, but the simple fact remains that someone is SHOOTING AT YOU! If you honestly want to improve safety, PUT THE GUN AWAY. If you try and read text messages "in traffic," you are too stupid to drive. STOP ENABLING STUPID DRIVING! Text messages, facebook updates, etc, are not so important that you should get them while driving. Just wait till you get where you are going. While I can see the benefit of voice controls through SYNC, the MFT system is a terrible idea from its very foundation, not just its final, buggy implementation. Without real buttons/knobs, you HAVE to look away from the road to use it. Since there is no tactile feedback, you really don't know if you hit the right button or even a 'button' at all. What I can do with a single motion in my 10-yr-old car takes multiple screen presses to do with MFT, which diverts more time & attention away from the road. Hopefully we realize that these touch screens are a lot like automatic seat belts--a terrible idea that need to go away.
        Tom Snyder
        • 3 Years Ago
        Would love it if 2011 Fusions w/sync could get applink!!! I know a lot of us a checking everyday for it!!! Please!!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      More maps art always good never get lost
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