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Ford Launches Best Buy Trial Of Sync Demos

10/15/2009 01:47:40 PM Eastern

Dearborn, Mich. - Ford
will launch this October its previously announced venture with Best Buy to
promote the car maker's popular Sync radios with voice activation.

Beginning in
October, more than 30 Texas Best Buy locations will show consumers in clinics
and demos how to use their mobile phones with the Sync.  The Sync links with Bluetooth phones to allow
traffic and weather updates and navigation with no service fees for three
years.  

The program is
expected to expand to nationwide Best Buy locations in 2010, said Ford.

The alliance
between the companies was first
revealed
at the 2009 International CES, but this is the first announcement
of trial clinics to kick off the program. 

Best Buy Mobile
will act as a secondary venue, in addition to Ford dealers, where users can
learn if their phone will work with the Sync, and Best Buy can help consumers
upgrade to a compatible Bluetooth phone.

Ford also launched
this month an advertising campaign for Sync, called "SYNC. Say the
Word," to boost awareness of the voice-activated radio system.  The print and online ads target "young, tech-savvy
drivers," said Ford.  These will be
joined by 30-second video spots, and Ford will also make available 11
instructional videos on a new
Web site
.

Best Buy will also
conduct ongoing research on which mobile phones are compatible with the Sync
and list the phones in its monthly Mobile Buyer's Guide.

"We have a
strong belief that mobile technology should serve people and help them stay
connected whether it's at home, at work or in the car," said Best Buy
Mobile president Shawn Score.

The new
version of the Sync
, developed with Microsoft, not only acts as a radio
that links with iPods and cellphones by voice command, but it also delivers
navigation and traffic information by voice.  Information is read aloud to the user but no
map display is provided. Users can also "ask" to hear local weather and sports scores
using voice commands.

Traffic and other
data are sent over the voice channel of the user's Bluetooth phone, so no data
plan is required.