Ford Makes it Easier to Avoid Texting While Driving With New SYNC Features

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Bluetooth standard called MAP (Message Access Profile), which enables the phone and SYNC to exchange message data. SYNC is an open platform, which means that the architecture is flexible and “open” for new applications to be developed for it. The text message readback feature is part of SYNC. But, so far, only Research in Motion has integrated the appropriate Bluetooth profile that enables Blackberry devices to communicate with SYNC.

Ford SYNC was co-developed by Ford and Microsoft and introduced in 2007 on the 2008 model year Focus. It is now available across almost all of Ford’s product line. Microsoft provides the software based on its Windows Embedded Automotive platform, and then Ford develops and integrates all the capabilities and applications on that platform. It partners with other companies for some of those applications, including Nuance, based in Burlington, MA., for voice recognition and TeleNav, based in Sunnyvale, CA., for navigation data.

Hall indicated that it is important for the automaker to determine what applications are available on the SYNC, and what gets locked out while the car’s being driven.

“We own the in-vehicle experience, therefore it will be up to us to evaluate and determine what apps are accessible through SYNC,” Hall says.

It makes sense to me, since, as Toyota’s recent troubles with brakes revealed, the carmaker will be held responsible if something goes wrong.

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