Mike Stevens | Jul 30, 2008

With Microsoft products available in just about anything with a screen, you might have been wondering how long it was going to be until they launched an all-out attack on the now somewhat ubiquitous in-car monitor. Wonder no more; it looks like that day is on the horizon.

Microsoft recently threw another wad of cash and resources at their connectivity and infotainment division, increasing its financial and staff commitment to this area by 30 percent.

You won't have seen it in Australian models, but 200,000 Fords, Lincolns, and Mercurys in the US have so far rolled out with a Microsoft and Ford developed system called Ford SYNC. Responsible for in-car communications and entertainment, SYNC allows the occupants of a vehicle to connect and control various types of portable music players, as well as most mobile phone models, via voice commands, steering wheel controls, or radio controls.

Ford Sync ™: Ford Sync™ allows consumers to operate nearly any mobile phone or digital media player using voice commands or the vehicle’s steering wheel or radio controls. Pictured here are just some of the devices that can easily function inside of Ford vehicles equipped with Sync.

Tom Phillips, head of Microsoft's automotive division, is confident that Microsoft's future in the automotive industry is bright.

"There are a lot of technologies that are two to three years out that are going to provide even more connectivity and innovation," he said.

"There's such a disconnect between what people experience in their cars and what they experience in the rest of their lives. It hasn't really evolved that much."

What the hell, we say bring it on. If Microsoft can develop in-car computer systems on par with our desktop systems, and can do it in a way that won't endanger our lives by distracting us with pretty pictures as we plow head-long into a tree, we're all for it.

[Detroit News]

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