Friday, January 11, 2008

Is Ford in Sync?

After a few days playing with the Ford Sync voice command system this week in my rental car; I would have to say yes and no. Here's my promised follow-up:

I am going to keep this short, because quite honestly the excitement factor wore off pretty quickly.

While this system works through the radio, there are no voice commands for the radio. Tuning the radio is the same as it ever was. No voice commands here.

The Bluetooth phone function worked well as far as talking hands free. However, the voice commands were a pain—you had to remember exactly how a name was entered and there were times the computer didn’t understand my command. I ended up dialing from my Blackberry and simply talking hands free using Bluetooth.

There’s both a USB connector and a mini-plug input in the center console. Both worked fine. Again, the voice command took more work than simply smilin’ and dialing that iPod. For portable music player lovers the system will play your content just fine.

I was not set up to stream via Bluetooth audio so obviously I won’t comment. Maybe if I had been able to stream in the car I would have been more wowed.

I loved the hype of the Sync and was excited to play around with it. Of course, to be successful it really needs to just work—and so far the voice command element, to me, was not ready for prime time. The system reminds me of the voice programs one can use to “type” a document. Let me just say this…I’m typing this with my hands.