Ford's latest lineup of tech-friendly vehicles boasts updates to the carmaker's popular Sync platform. Designed to interface with Bluetooth-enabled phones, USB memory sticks, iPhones and MP3 music players, Sync lets busy business users plug disparate devices into the dash and create a rolling digital office space.
I took a peek at the newest Sync offering in the lean-and-green 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid, a reliable sedan that has Sync as a standard feature. Equipped with Sync, but no navigation panel, the car was still able to provide me with turn-by-turn directions--along with the news/weather/traffic troika--through a new program called Sync Services. Offered free to Ford customers who buy Sync-enabled vehicles, Sync Services uses the driver's mobile phone as a sort of modem to connect to its wealth of online information. With my BlackBerry tapped wirelessly into the Fusion, I could call up the services using the voice-recognition button on the steering wheel and a few simple commands.
Voice recognition also made it easy to place hands-free speakerphone calls to contacts from my phonebook, which I was able to load into the Sync computer once I paired the phone via Bluetooth. Sync Services offers a streamlined and affordable way to access navigational features without a fancy nav panel while still maintaining the core Sync elements--including steering-wheel-button access to satellite radio, MP3s and speakerphone calling.