Last weekend, Ford held its second annual Sync AppLink Developer Challenge at the Disrupt Hackathon in San Francisco. The winner of the developer challenge was an app called Dates.fm. By winning the developer challenge and team behind the app now has the opportunity to further develop a Sync AppLink enabled version of the app to show off at CES next January.
There are more than a few car infotainment systems on the market today as well as a number of smart phone applications that allow users to dictate text messages using their voice. The voice dictated texts can be sent just as any other typed out text. There has been a huge push around the country for cities and states the place bans on texting and driving.
Ford's SYNC system is one of the best uses of in-car technology out there that's included by a manufacturer - but since its inception in 2007 it's been relegated to North America. The company aims to end that sad state of affairs next week at the Geneva Motor Show, when it introduces SYNC to European customers in the new 2013 B-Max crossover. he optional add-on will be added to other models afterwards. Currently the company hasn't said when the B-Max will hit the road, or how long after that it'll take to expand the current line-up with the SYNC option.
Ford has announced a cool new feature for Sync called Sync Destinations. Destinations uses the connectivity from your smartphone to provide services like turn-by-turn driving directions, destination downloads, and traffic details. Sync Destinations is compatible with Sync AppLink as well.
Ford has announced plans for a new Silicon Valley R&D center to come up with a better alternative to the Segway or other "personal mobility experience" concepts, as well as integrating mobile tech better with its SYNC in-car infotainment system. The San Francisco lab, set to open later this year, will look at "a holistic approach to personal transportation" as well as how the car can be transformed into a sensor, sharing information such as when windshield wipers are turned on to track hyper-local weather and other trends. Meanwhile, Ford has also begun distributing its open-source collaboration with Bug Labs, announced last year.
The HP TouchPad went on sale last week and thanks to its smooth WebOS 3.0, fans can somewhat overlook the cheapish hardware. Plus, recent talks of possible WebOS licensing bolsters faith in the future of the platform. For now, the company is playing catch-up with its ecosystem and has just introduced a public beta of its HP Play music syncing app.
One of the coolest features for tech fans on many new Ford vehicles is Sync. The hands free technology in Sync allows you to control your compatible phone with your voice and to control some of the car systems using your voice. On some cars, you can adjust the temperature and radio station using your voice. One of the coolest things about Sync is that vehicles that are AppLink compatible get even more connectivity between the drivers smartphone and the vehicle.
Apple's iCloud announcement from WWDC 2011 sounds promising, freeing iPhone and iPad users from ever having to physically connect their iOS devices to their computers for backing up to iTunes. With the iCloud-powered iOS 5, backups will be automatically synced to the cloud. And thank goodness, now that we know from an insider tip that only 50 percent of iPhone users ever backup their data to iTunes. The iCloud will surely save a lot of data loss headaches.
Ford has been putting Sync in some of its vehicles for a few years now. At first glance, the system might just seem like a Bluetooth hands free communications set up for driving. Sync is much more than that though offering full voice control over many aspects of the vehicle entertainment and ventilation systems. The system also has apps and Ford is constantly expanding the system.
Ford has pushed out their new SYNC Destinations mobile app today, allowing iPhone, iPad or Android device users to hook up to the TDI systems in their Ford vehicles and get Predictive Traffic advice for route mapping. Hooking up with the device's address book, as well as allowing up to 25 saved locations, the app lets you search for turn-by-turn directions and have them ready and waiting when you actually get into the car.
Ford's predictive systems take into account real-time speed, accident and incident information for all highways, interstates, arterials and city streets in 126 metropolitan areas across North America, and then use that to pick what the system reckons is the best route for your journey. So far, so good, but it then throws in local school schedules, sports games and concerts as well.