Plugging into in-car technologies!

Back in the last century GM introduced OnStar as an alternative to a bag phone or an antiquated car phone… but that was then and technology has far out-paced even consumer’s demands in today’s market.

What seems to be pushing the market ever-forward is the proliferation of the smartphone. Consumers are starting to ask a similar questions “So, if my phone can do all of those fancy things, why can’t my automobile?”  Auto manufacturers are scrambling to create the technology that provides the driver the connectivity they want.

Ford Motor Company, with its Microsoft Sync systems, and now with its MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch systems, seems to be light years ahead of the competition.

Not a day goes by at a Ford dealership when a customer discovers all of the services they can obtain through Sync and Ford’s Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI) service and they realize that it’s a whole lot of technology for them to use in their vehicles.

Recently Hyundai announced that some of its 2012 models would have Bluetooth technology with the Assurance (basic) package costing $79 a year and the Guidance (advanced) package costing $279 a year.  GM is planning to have available on some of its models a telematics system similar to Ford’s Sync, by its 2012 model year. GM’s OnStar system ranges in price from $199 to $299 a year (and it essentially requires you to get an additional cell phone service contract and pay for the minutes used).

Those are unbelievable prices… the Ford Sync system is available on most of its vehicles NOW at no additional charge (it’s bundled into its options packages) and its TDI service is free for the first three years. Even after three years, the voice-activated turn-by-turn navigation (the TDI service offers features like sports, news, weather, horoscopes, point-of-interest search and so on) only costs $65 a year.

Probably the area where Ford shines the most is that the Sync system is software based and is easily upgradeable.  Its system will interact with apps like Pandora and Stitch. There are already smartphone apps that tie in real-time driving information between the phone and your car. It seems that the biggest challenge with these telematics system using Bluetooth technology is to get the multitude of cell phone and smartphones to work with your vehicle… but Ford has been doing it for years now.   On top of that, Ford will be offering its Sync system with TDI in 19 languages for 2012.

With the MyFord Touch or the MyLincoln Touch systems, you can use an aircard or a 4G phone to create your own Wi-Fi zone in your vehicle. You can run multiple laptops and/or computers to access the Internet.

It seems that Ford is ahead of the game with its technology. It offers more complex telematics systems on more of its vehicles offering a wider range of services for far less cost – and it’s upgradeable so it can keep up with changing demands.  For more information, visit www.bobhurleyford.com or www.ford.com/technology .

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