Is Ford SYNC really that cool?

To me, it’s not.


I like the concept of Ford SYNC – the ability to connect Bluetooth phones, PMP’s, etc. so you can use them hands-free with your voice.

This can be very useful. By controlling via your voice, you can keep your eyes on the road, and not have to stare at the screen of anything. Less car accidents maybe? At least it’s better than crazy drivers who try to input things onto a device while driving at the same time. Guys have a smaller portion of the frontal lobe (or whatever controls multiple actions) in the brain, thus they have a hard time doing multi-tasking. At the same time, guys are usually more of a tech gadget person. So mixing gadgets and driving may not be good. But with SYNC, there might be a way to ease the best of both worlds.

But it doesn’t come without some things I find bad about SYNC:

  • It’s exclusive with Ford (who also owns Lincoln and Mercury) – Couldn’t that software be available with other auto makers too? Not that I have anything against Ford, but I want choices instead of being locked-in.
  • The menu on the car screen is UGLY – What is this, the late 80’s? I don’t know why the menu screen looks rather rough and archaic to use. Would it have taken that much longer to polish up the UI a bit? If it’s a touchscreen (which I’m not sure of) it doesn’t look really friendly to navigate.
  • It’s a $395 option – I think that’s rather expensive for a piece of software that just recognizes voice input. I think it should be around $200-$250
  • The SYNC ‘voice’ sound too robotic – I don’t really know how companies make electronic voices, but the always seem robotic. SYNC’s isn’t any different. I’m ok with robotic, but I doubt it would take that long for a sexy-sounding person/people to say common simple lines that the system usually responds with the most. That would be much more appealing.
  • NO other integration from Microsoft – How about a Live Maps integration, to get traffic info., gas prices etc? Especially if the car has it’s own built-in GPS. Can you pop CD’s or DVD’s in SYNC and view them in a WMC/WMP-like interface? Display RSS feeds via WiFi? Any other interesting tech bits in a car? It seems to me that more could be done than just syncing devices.

So overall, I just think Ford SYNC kind of under-delivers what I would expect for something like this to be implemented. I kind of want more.

I found a neat link where a guy and a girl test-drive SYNC. It’s pretty interesting.

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