By Amy Gilroy
A car aftermarket system to rival the Ford Sync is what retailers want, yes? Blitzsafe, an iPod car dock supplier, says it’s got one.
The retail add-on device gives you superior, natural speech voice control over music from an iPod, iPhone, or anything that supports Bluetooth. You also get voice control over phone calls, over the garage door opener, and it communicates with home devices via 3G or 4G to turn on and off lights, etc. The add-on aftermarket system can work with most cars—anything on a J1850 or CAN bus, says Blitzsafe president Ira Marlowe, who hopes to release the device later this year. It will be a consumer product (requiring installation of course) at about a $200 to $300 street price, he says.
Marlowe claims the device (called HFMS for Hands Free Management System) will use a more powerful voice engine than the Sync and there’s no need to teach the system. “With our system you don’t have to say ‘Go to track Joan Jett.’ You can just say ‘Joan Jett.’ With the Sync, if you do that, it may not work. It’s not that accurate. We take voices that have accents and we’re able to differentiate even the accent.”
Apps on your phone or iPod touch will play through the radio so if your phone has Pandora or Sirius or XM, it will play through the system. For hands free calling, it give you voice control over the phone book, redial, and 9-1-1 calls. When you say “Call Jane,” it asks if you want to call her mobile, home or work number. Blitzsafe is also in the process of adding voice control over USB devices and adding text to speech and reverse for hearing and replying to email or text readouts.
The system will come with a microphone that attaches to the visor. It will be packaged with harnesses for specific vehicles.
Adds Marlowe of the HFMS, “It’s not as frustrating as a Sync. A lot of people use Sync and just say ‘Forget this.’ In Ford commercials, they pick songs and words that are easy for the machine to understand, but in the real world, they fall short. Ford should have come to us before they went to Microsoft.”
Photo: a Blitzsafe universal iPhone adapter
Ford Sync Alternative for Retail
By Amy Gilroy