Microsoft officials have confirmed that a joint announcement will be made regarding plans to pre-load ‘Sync’ software into Ford vehicles at the Consumer Electronic Show on January 6th and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 7th. According to the Wall Street Journal, the technology will debut as an option on the Focus and Five Hundred models and will be available with the entire Ford line up from 2008.
The system works through a computer located inside the car which runs Microsoft Automotive software, which uses Bluetooth to connect to a mobile phone connected to the internet. Drivers will be able to access functions such as hands-free calling, media downloads, automatic navigation updates and e-mail vocally via a microphone located in the roof of the car.
When asked why Bluetooth technology was not already available in key new models such as the Edge, Ford’s president of the Americas hinted of the firm’s larger plans to a small group of journalists on December 12th by saying: “I think you’ll see us getting a lot more aggressive on those types of technologies.”
Microsoft has already been working with Fiat to use Windows Automotive software as part of an infotainment project called Blue&Me, which was unveiled at the 2006 Geneva auto show. This system is currently available in models such as the Fiat Grande Punto, the Alfa Romeo Brera, 159 and Spider.