In-car computer and entertainment systems are becoming more popular, with companies trying to create systems that play music, have GPS or initiate calls. Microsoft recently begun implementing one such computer system designed exclusively for cars. This computer system is known as Microsoft Sync.
Microsoft Sync's main features are its ability to play almost any media player, from a Zune to an iPod. It can also initiate and handle calls from a cell phone. As of spring 2009, Sync became able to provide traffic, search and news information.
What Cars Have Sync?
Due to an exclusivity deal, so far only certain cars made by Ford, Mercury and Lincoln can have Sync installed in their vehicles. Even among these cars, only a select few out of the entire line of cars are Sync-Capable. A list of cars that can have Sync installed is provided as a Resource.
How Sync works
Sync is essentially a watered-down computer. It's composed of several computer microchips, and uses Sync as an Operating System. Sync also is set up with a microphone for voice-access to the system, so that the driver doesn't need to directly interact with any buttons or knobs that may hinder his ability to drive.
Some Sync computers seem to be limited in how far they can be upgraded, only allowing certain parts to get an update. In particular very few older Sync vehicles can get the traffic and news part of the new Sync firmware. In addition, the connect-ability for MP3 players, while nearly universal, only works with audio connections.
Microsoft isn't satisfied with only providing traffic and news. Wired.com suggests that Microsoft's ultimate goal is to allow for several new features as well, which include vehicle-to-vehicle communication, online games, and even downloading music and video directly to the car. It also wishes to expand Sync's service to other car companies as well.
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