Peter Anderson | Jun 21, 2012

Ford's in-car SYNC infotainment technology has this week been inducted into the Computer History Museum.

Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco, is home to the US technology industry and a natural place for the museum.

Ford says the system is one of the first automotive technologies at the centre that is not related to engine management or passenger safety.

As one of Ford's first in-car systems to include Bluetooth connectivity, the first version of SYNC was revealed in 2007 and made its way into production car for the 2008 model year.

Based on Microsoft's now long-forgotten Windows CE software, the SYNC option cost $395 in the US market, and was initially available only with the Focus small car.

The technology brought navigation, voice commands and connectivity with mobile phones; all still relatively new concepts for the automotive industry at the time.

"As cars have transformed into mobile platforms for consumers’ communication and entertainment needs, the intersection of automotive and computing developments is becoming an increasingly important area for the Museum to consider," said Alex Bochannek, curator of the Computer History Museum.

"Ford Motor Company’s collaboration with Microsoft on Sync technology is an example of this changing landscape.”

Along with voice control for phones and music functionality on iPods and Microsoft's now-retired Zune players, SYNC allows users to control certain applications on the Blackberry, iPhone and Android platforms.

Coincidental to the induction of Ford technology to the museum, the company has opened a technology lab in the Silicon Valley area.

Situated in Palo Alto, just minutes from the headquarters of tech giants Google, Oracle and Apple, the lab is right in the epicentre of technology talent in the US.

The lab is intended to show that Ford welcomes technology companies and their input to the automotive world, to make infotainment and telematic systems more intuitive and safer to use.

Ford say that the "Silicon Valley Lab team is now ready to listen, learn and even teach at its location in downtown Palo Alto."

In the world of in-car infotainment systems, carmakers have often struggled with offering the ease-of-use that consumers have come to expect in the age of iPod-driven simplicity. Ford's new centre in the Silicon Valley can only be a good thing.

 

Australia

While the first version of SYNC is already a museum piece at the tender age of five years old, the technology is currently at version 5 and is expected to join the Australian-delivered Focus range later this year.

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