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Ford Outlines Sync, MyTouch, Internet Radio Plans

4/19/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK — Ford’s second-generation
Sync system and new MyFord Touch
user interface will appear in cars for the
first time during the summer, giving aftermarket
installers their first chance to
assess the vehicles’ aftermarket-upgrade
potential.

During the New York Auto show,
Ford said it plans summertime availability
in the 2011-model-year Ford Edge and
Lincoln MKX.

MyFord Touch features an 8-inch color
touchscreen in the dash, dual 4.2-inch
color LCD displays flanking the speedometer,
and two five-way rocker switches
on the steering wheel, all to control
entertainment, navigation and climatecontrol
systems. The second-generation
Sync, like it predecessor, delivers voice
control over a vehicle’s entertainment
systems, Bluetooth-connected cellphones
for hands-free calling, and USB-connected
MP3 players. The second-generation
system, however, will add voice control
over more functions, including climatecontrol
systems, and it will add such
features as GPS navigation and mobile
Wi-Fi hot spot capability.

Separately, Ford provided additional details
about its new Sync and MyFord Touch
systems, about previously announced plans
to offer factory-installed HD Radio for
the first time in calendar 2010, and about
Sync-system control of an Internet-music
app and other apps installed on Bluetoothconnected
smartphones.

In HD Radio developments, the company
said HD Radio will be part of a
voice-activated navigation system option
available in most 2011-model-year Ford,
Lincoln and Mercury models. It features
8-inch touchscreen.

Previously, Ford offered HD Radio
only as a dealer-installed option across
the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lines.

HD Radio will also be part of a package
incorporating second-generation Sync
systems and MyFord Touch systems. The
package will be available in three of four
2011 Ford Edge trim levels and the 2011
Lincoln MKZ. The package won’t be available
in the base Edge SE but will be optional
in the SEL and standard in the Limited
and Sport trim levels. The package will also
be standard in the Lincoln MKX.

These vehicles will be Ford’s first to offer
HD Radio with iTunes tagging.

Although the base SE will lack Sync,
touchscreen and HD Radio options, it
will come with a scaled-back MyFord
interface as standard equipment. That
interface includes two five-way rocker
switches in the steering wheel and two
4.2-inch color touchscreens, one near the
vehicle’s speedometer and the other in
the dash between the driver and passenger.
Neither screen is a touchscreen.

The step-up Edge SEL also comes
standard with the MyFord interface,
but the MyFord Touch interface, Sync
and HD Radio will be available as an
optional package. The three technologies
will be standard on the Edge Limited
and Sport.

As for Internet radio, the company said
existing first-generation Sync systems later
this year will be able to use Bluetooth
to control — not just stream audio from
— select Internet apps on Blackberry
and Android smartphones.

The first three smartphone apps capable
of being controlled from Sync systems
will be Pandora’s Internet music-streaming
app, Stitcher’s Internet news and podcast
app, and OpenBeak’s Twitter-streaming
app with text-to-voice conversion. Pandora,
Stitcher and OpenBeak will make their
apps controllable from a Sync system by releasing
Sync-enabled updates for over-theair
downloading.

Second-generation Sync systems will
also control the new smartphone apps.

Like the first-generation Sync system
launched in October 2007 on the Ford
Focus, the second-generation Sync system
delivers voice control over a vehicle’s
entertainment systems, Bluetooth-connected
cellphones for hands-free calling,
and USB-connected MP3 players.

The second-generation Sync system,
however, will extend voice control to additional
functions, including climate-control
functions for the first time. It will also
feature two USB ports instead of one, and
it will add an SD card slot, RCA A/V inputs
and Wi-Fi, which turns a vehicle into
a mobile hot spot when a cellular USB modem
is inserted. The next-gen system also
adds built-in GPS, enabling drivers to use
Ford’s currently available Traffic, Directions,
Information (TDI) service. When
accessed via Sync through a voice call from
any Bluetooth-equipped cellphone, the
TDI service delivers turn-by-turn driving
instructions (with street-name announce)
and local point-of-interest (POI) search
results in a synthesized human voice. The
service is free for the first three years and
costs $60/year after that.

A Sync system with MyFord Touch
turns into a full-blown turn-by-turn navigation
system with the insertion of an optional
SD card equipped with maps, routing
algorithm, and POI database. Maps appear
on the MyFord Touch’s 8-inch touchscreen,
Voice guidance is provided as well.
The Navigation card will be priced at less
than $1,000, the company said.

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