It's pretty amazing how much in-car technology has advanced in recent years, and Ford's Sync system has been at the forefront of vehicle connectivity and infotainment. Since its debut on the 2008 Ford Focus, Ford says more than five million of its vehicles have been equipped with Microsoft-developed technology.

Back when Sync was shown off in 2007, smartphones were just in their infancy (the iPhone was unveiled two days later), and Sync allows customers to upgrade their mobile devices without having to replace any equipment inside the vehicle. Over the years, Ford has expanded the technology to include new features such as AppLink that adds Sync-enabled apps-like Pandora, iHeartRadio, Stitcher and Vehicle Health Report.

Down the road, Ford says Sync will get even more personal through the use of cloud computing and vehicle sensor data. Read more in the press release below.
Show full PR text
Ford, Microsoft Celebrate Five Years of In-Car Connectivity Leadership with 5 Millionth SYNC-Equipped Vehicle

-Five years after launching SYNC® with Microsoft, Ford has delivered more than 5 million vehicles with the award-winning connectivity system

-SYNC's success based on open, flexible and agnostic Microsoft platform and vision for mobile connectivity being a growing consumer trend

-Ford and Microsoft look to the future for next phase of the connected car experience to be based on intelligence through fusion of cloud computing and sensor data


SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 5, 2012 – Five years ago, Ford Motor Company and Microsoft came together to launch the benchmark for in-vehicle connectivity systems with the introduction of SYNC. Today at the GigaOM Roadmap Conference, Ford CTO Paul Mascarenas and Microsoft Windows Embedded General Manager Kevin Dallas announced the 5-millionth vehicle equipped with SYNC has been sold and they shared their joint vision for continued leadership in development of the connected car.

"SYNC has helped us evolve as an automaker, to think and act more like a technology company, with a new level of openness and access that has forever changed how we look at our business and respond to our customers," said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president, Ford Research and Innovation. "Ultimately, SYNC embodies what Ford is all about: going further to transform innovative ideas into products that are affordable, attainable and valuable to millions of people."

When Ford and Microsoft first initiated the collaboration in 2005, the engineering teams recognized that mobile electronics were quickly becoming an increasingly important part of people's lives as cell phones and digital media players. Considering how quickly mobile device usage had grown in just the previous few years, the development team decided a new development approach was needed going forward.

"Thanks to our partner Microsoft and their expertise, we have turned the car into a platform with extensive opportunities for developers to work with us to continue to add value through new features delivered at the speed consumers now expect," continued Mascarenas. "With more than 1 billion smartphones now in service around the world, we expect mobile connectivity will continue to be the foundational element of our strategy going forward."

"We've worked with Ford on SYNC right from the start," said Kevin Dallas, general manager of Windows Embedded, Microsoft Corp. "Taking a platform approach enabled us to move quickly and deliver an innovative solution unlike any in the industry while providing us the flexibility to continue to deliver new features and improvements to Ford customers."

While cars and trucks typically stay on the road for more than 10 years on average, people often replace their consumer electronics every couple of years to keep pace with the latest advances in technology.

The SYNC development team created an architecture based on the Windows Embedded Automotive platform that took advantage of open protocols like USB and Bluetooth® to enable virtually any device to be connected for media playback and communications. That decision turned out to be more prescient than anyone on the team could have imagined.

When SYNC was first announced on Jan. 7, 2007 at the International CES, the presentation featured the iPod, Motorola RAZR flip-phone and Palm TREO smartphone. Just two days later, Apple began a mobile phone revolution and the beginning of the app economy with the announcement of the original iPhone. When customers began driving the first car available with SYNC, the 2008 Focus, in fall of that year, most were using SYNC to make hands-free calls using their feature phones and play back music from iPods with simple voice commands powered by Nuance voice recognition technology.

Five years on, there are smartphones powered by a diverse range of platforms including iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone mobile operating systems. With ample on-board storage, processing power that rivals desktop computers from five years ago and fast wireless data connections, these phones still work with those original SYNC-equipped vehicles. They can also power new available capabilities on most Ford vehicles like AppLink™, 911 Assist®, Vehicle Health Report and SYNC Services, a cloud-based service network including traffic reports, turn-by-turn directions, business search, news and sports scores and movie listings.

"Now, it's clear that building an open, upgradable connectivity platform has been key to the success of SYNC because it has allowed us to stay relevant to the consumer," said Mascarenas. "With available SYNC, Ford vehicles are no longer stuck with the technology built in at the factory, they can keep pace with the latest consumer trends through simple software updates."

Ford was ranked first in ABI Research's OEM connected automotive infotainment Competitive Assessment, with high ratings for implementation, innovation, and price.

With 5 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on the road and the system just beginning to launch in Europe and Asia, Ford and Microsoft, along with Nuance, are always working on new enhancements that can keep customers on the leading edge of in-car technology.

"At Microsoft, we're now focused on how data and connectivity can turn devices into intelligent systems that enable insight-driven action," said Dallas. "In the vehicle, this means the ability to connect to more data from more sources and use it to help the driver. Together with Ford, we're helping them turn the connected vehicle into an intelligent vehicle."

Cloud connectivity, on-board sensors and data access are key components for creating this kind of intelligent vehicle experience. Other advances, such as natural language processing and machine learning, could help SYNC provide a more natural interaction between car and driver, enabling a driving experience that's more personalized and convenient.

"The car is a rich source of real-time data and when combined with the processing power available in the cloud, it could become the smartest device you will ever own," adds Mascarenas.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 172,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      GTPWilks
      • 2 Years Ago
      Used it from day 1 in my 2010 fusion and never had any issues with it, in fact was a reason we purchased over a Malibu at the time. Pandora, Playlist, Phone and directions have all been flawless. Even with the windows down the voice command almost always work so no complaints here. Based on comments sounds like some are confusing it with MyFord Touch (as others mentioned) which I have heard has plenty of software issues even after multiple updates.
      gmhtv1
      • 2 Years Ago
      WHY THE HELL DOES ANYONE NEED A CAR THAT DOES ANYTHING MORE THAN STOP AND GO AND GET GOOD FUEL MILEAGE ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? THIS HYPE OVER ELECTONICS IS JUST UNNESSARY HYPE
      Gina
      • 2 Years Ago
      That's great now if only Ford would fix their electrical problems that are either poor designs or just plain crappy ass line work! The last 2 Fords I bought have the SAME electrical issues! There's no way that my 95 and my 2005 cars can have the same problems by chance. These are issues that I brought up with Fords and if enough people compalin about the same issues they might have a recall. I already have a recall on my Trans so while it's in the shop I better have the heater switch fixed. The air or heat won't come out of the defrost or the floor. It just roars out of the dash only. Not very good when you're trying to defrost a window to pick up Grandchildren from school! I also have issues with other electrical things like sometimes a window won't open and I can re start the car later on and it works. Just like with my 95 Ford Sable... It had the same problems. OH and my husband's F150 Truck had the same issue with the heater switch. It had to be replaced because he couldn't direct the air where he wanted it! These may seem like small issues but they are annoying and It took everything I had to buy this car. I shouldn't have to pay to fix THEIR design flaws or mistakes from sloppy line work! We must have got cars that were made on Monday's or Fridays! ugh
        steve
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Gina
        The people who have problems with anything are usually the biggest noise maker, the majority is usually quiet.
      gary
      • 2 Years Ago
      shame people want all this stupid stuff to clog up and make their cars and truck cost so much more. if you want it then your going to have problems stuffing so much into a confined space! what wrong with a good running engine, trans , good looks not like now where they all look alike. and affordable! A heater air, radio any more is just expensive toys to mess up and cost you.
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      Use your computer at home. Thus, no problems with expensive bells and whistles that most people do not need anyway.
      armym14
      • 2 Years Ago
      I bought a 2012 F150 truck in august i love the SYNC use it for cell phone use only. I had a problem at first i had 4 people listed with the word CELL at the end of their names. problem half of the time it would call the wrong cell i found out after a week playing with it i was speaking to slowly. Works fine now.
      hnocella
      • 2 Years Ago
      Type your comment hereWe bought a 2012 Edge SEL about eight months ago, and we have had to bring it back to the Dealership no less than three times already for various software glitches. The Technician at the Dealership (the only Technician who works on Synch software problems) has no idea what has caused the problems (e.g., the radio will not turn off when we turn off the engine and exit the car; the remotely controlled rear hatch/door opens on its own after we exit the car and leave the general area in which it was parked; the information center screen freezes, etc.). The only solution seems to be to "re-boot" the software with the latest update from Ford and to hope for the best. This is just another example of rushing a product to market WAY BEFORE it was properly tested. It is not what we expected from a product for which we paid a LOT of money.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      ChrisH
      • 2 Years Ago
      and four million unhappy owners.... it is the primary reason I do not like my car anymore...
        Jason Alan Sipes
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ChrisH
        Chris you are constantly up here complaining about your car on every single SYNC related or Mustang related article, for the love of everything good if it's so bad that you have to complain about it at every chance get rid of it.
          ChrisH
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Jason Alan Sipes
          I am going to be rid of it, I am currently in waiting on two future models that I am interested in replacing it with. I bought a piece of junk; IMHO; and am quite willing to admit it. My parent's Ford is fine, mine is not. Don't like it, convince Ford to build a better product. I really do not enjoy Sync telling me every few days that the play list is full (for an iPod that never leaves the car / changes) or doesn't like the iPod that day or worse can't find my phone which never changes)
        XJ Yamaha
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ChrisH
        You're lying and you know it. Just using this as a chance to spout unfounded garbage.
      chet.zaiko
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have no use for SYNC. During the day, I handle hundreds of phone calls in my job and when I get into my car, I DO NOT want to be "connected". I will not use a cell phone while driving for safety purposes. I was all ready to buy a new Ford Fusion until I found out that there is no was to buy this car without SYNC. Sync was a $600 option on earlier models. Why should I have to pay for something that I don't want. I love the Fusion, but I am looking at other manufacturers. Why can't Ford give the cuatomer a choice on where they spend their money.
        merlot066
        • 2 Years Ago
        @chet.zaiko
        SYNC is a $295 option on base models and includes a speaker upgrade. If you DO NOT want to be connected, you don't have to use your phone. You can still plug in an MP3 player or use your phone for music and turn on "do not disturb" and still be able to access music, pandora, and have the security of 911 Assist. GM has OnStar (which is even more obtrusive), Kia has Uvo, Hyundai has BlueLink, Chrysler has Uconnect, Toyota has entune. Get over it.
        Titanium Welders
        • 2 Years Ago
        @chet.zaiko
        Well, just because the car has Sync, doesn't mean you HAVE to tie your phone to it.
        dreadcthulhu01
        • 2 Years Ago
        @chet.zaiko
        Given how the price of electronic equipment is steadily dropping, at this point it is probably cheaper for Ford to just make Sync standard in all of their new models, than it would be for Ford to offer it as an option. If you don't like Sync, you don't have to use it.
        Tonkji
        • 2 Years Ago
        @chet.zaiko
        I would totally disable that sync system in a heartbeat!
      jrtritsch
      • 2 Years Ago
      I got a rental '12 focus with all the sync garbage, took a 6 hour road trip, neither my wife or I could get music to play through our iphones either hardwired or with bluetooth. Contrast this to our BASE model honda fit where you plug in the usb cord, iphone, and you are instantly playing music. I don't want stupid voice commands...I just want stuff that actually works. I'm not paying $20k+ based on what anyone can do with their $600 smartphone. Stop building cars with electronics that are hopelessly behind the state of the art (even when the car is new) and focus on building a good CAR. You might be able to upsell people on the tech when they get to the dealer, but don't base the entire car and interior around it. The horrible tech and bad dash layout is the only reason I didn't even bother to consider buying one.
      Tonkji
      • 2 Years Ago
      Oh, I thought it was call Stync
    • Load More Comments