By Amy Gilroy
The Ford Sync—the coolest factory radio— has been installed on more than two million cars, and the rate of new cars shipping with Sync radios is accelerating.
It took the Ford Sync, developed with Microsoft, ten months to progress from one million units shipped in Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars to two million. It took almost two years to reach the first million installs.
Ford also announced today that the Sync improves the resale value of the car by $200 to $240 (after one and two or one years of ownership, respectively).
The original $395 Sync factory radio was the first to “read aloud” text messages from a cellphone. It lets you link many portable devices to the Sync, including iPods and Bluetooth phones, and then control them by voice. It reads back your text messages from a compatible phone and lets you respond with canned voice commands. Last year, Ford added turn-by-turn navigation and traffic delivered by voice (with no screen) to the Sync. Users can also “ask” to hear local weather and sports scores using voice commands. Traffic and other data are sent over the voice channel of the user’s Bluetooth phone, so no data plan is required, and service is free for the first three years.
This summer, yet another version of the Sync–the MyFord Touch–will add WiFi, starting with the 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX and by the end of the year it will permit voice control over Twitter (via OpenBeak), Pandora and Stitcher as well as 3G Aircard access. This new Sync system will migrate to all Ford vehicles over the next few years, eventually landing in 80-percent of Ford nameplates within 5 years, said the company.
Photo: Ford at CES