Hands on with Ford Sync 3

It's kind of funny (not funny) how the infotainment systems in our vehicles seem to lag behind the consumer products in our pockets. Long after we had easy-to-use touchscreens on our phones, the glass panels in the center stack of our cars remained obstinately mired in the muck of technology past. We are happy to report it's getting better.

We had a chance to go hands-on with the new Sync 3 system from Ford at a technology event. Not once were we struck by the urge to reach out and offer a bit of knuckled encouragement. The processors kept swiping smooth, and the voice recognition could understand even our mumbly mouthings. The voice prompts were certainly fewer and less frustrating than in times past. Ask for the nearest Indian restaurant, and it quickly brought up a list to choose from, ready to offer directions. Want to listen to NPR, just say the word.

Sync 3 also improved its ability to get along with others, by which we mean it nicely integrates a range of apps from your phone and can incorporate their individual areas of expertise. With Pandora installed, we could ask for a particular playlist and it would begin streaming. If we wanted a certain artist, it would pull it from the phone's memory upon request.

To get a sense of what how the new system functions, check out the video above for a quick look at the improved layout and a demonstration of its smoothness and smarts. To get a look at how it integrates with music streaming services, scroll down for a Pandora-centered Short Cut below.

The video meant to be presented here is no longer available. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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