Ford announced today a software upgrade for Ford SYNC owners that includes support for the Bluetooth standard Message Access Profile (MAP). With MAP, the number of compatible smartphones has been boosted within the SYNC system, resulting in an increased number of drivers who will be able to have text messages read aloud to them in the car.
“A limited population of phones has the capability to work with the text message readback feature of SYNC,” said Mark Porter, supervisor of SYNC Product Development. “With our initial adoption of MAP for our latest generation of SYNC and our recent efforts to integrate it into our previous variations of the system, we hope we are setting an example that encourages more collaboration between Ford, the phonemakers and the wireless industry to help drivers find smarter alternatives to hand-held texting while on the road.”
Powered by Microsoft, SYNC is Ford’s answer to Chevy’s OnStar, providing drivers with on-screen navigation, hands-free calling, mobile entertainment, driving efficiency data and more. Ford SYNC received live operator assistance last month, and this software update for SYNC further enhances the driver’s hands-free experience from the confines of their vehicles.
While we’ve seen Chevy’s OnStar system in action at the GM Plant and while reviewing the Chevy Volt, Cadillac recently announced Cue, a Linux-based fully touchscreen-operated UI for its upcoming STX, ATS and SRX models in 2012. Cue features voice control integration, including the ability to have text messages read aloud to the driver.
The Ford SYNC software update is available for owners of select SYNC Generation 1-equipped 2011 and 2012 vehicles.