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Microsoft-Hyundai-Kia In Radio Tech Pact

Seoul, South Korea—On the heels of Ford’s hit futuristic car stereo system called the Sync, powered by Microsoft, the software giant announced today an agreement to provide a similar system for Hyundai-Kia by 2010.

The first product will provide voice-controlled connectivity between mobile devices and will, in the future, expand into multimedia and navigation devices, said Microsoft.

“The next generation infotainment systems are comparable to mini-PCs,” said Microsoft in a press statement.  “Even after product launch, new functions can be added or upgraded in the form of software program updates,” it added.

The current $400 Ford Sync CD/receiver uses Microsoft technology to provide voice control over music on cellphones and iPods, which can link with the car stereo. It also provides voice control over cellphone calling and text messages. Further, the Sync features may be upgraded by software updates.

Launched in October last year, Ford has sold 105,000 vehicles with Sync and expects to sell one million Sync vehicles by spring 2009.  The success of the Sync has triggered a catch up race by other automakers and by the aftermarket.