By on December 31, 2009


Amid the cries of shock around the blogosphere at the sudden death of the Kia Borrego, another tidbit of more consequential Kia news remains undercovered. And it’s actually bigger Ford news than anything else. Ford had deal with Microsoft for exclusive access to the technology underlying its Sync system. But with Ford’s 18 month term of exclusivity expired, Kia is set to formally announce its Sync-alike at next Tuesday’s International Consumer Electronics Show. Shooting for the middle ground between Ford’s apt “Sync” brand name and Fiat’s asinine “Blue&Me” moniker, Kia has called the system “Uvo” (Short for “Your Voice,” believe it or not).

It’s no surprise to see Microsoft’s technology appearing in Korean cars, but the fact that Hyundai group is gracing its Kia brand with the technology is a bit unexpected. According to Automotive News [sub], no plans have been announced for Uvo to appear in Hyundai-branded cars. By placing a technology that Ford swears has saved its sales bacon in cars branded with its value marque, Hyundai is going for Ford’s value-proposition jugular. Sure, Microsoft and Kia insist that Uvo will be distinct from Sync, but the differences are likely to be cosmetic at best. Uvo will debut sometime in 2010 on “an unnamed Kia vehicle,” probably the Amanti-replacing Cadenza, which is rumored to launch later next year. Here’s hoping Kia markets Uvo as an entertainment system, instead of spuriously pushing it as a “safety feature.”

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11 Comments on “Kia Uvo Syncs To Ford’s Level...”

  • avatar

    Which is why Ford is doing everything it can to extend its Sync advantage, such as adding App Stores and mobile Internet access. It’s called “competition” and it works, doesn’t it?

  • avatar

    Microsoft is a very unusual company.  They make (at best) mostly marginal products (there are a few decent offerings, but only a few); products that are unbelievably expensive to own and operate, but in spite of this they are still thought of well by the average cat on the street.  Also, they have been able to maintain a vice-lock on corporate America’s ‘nads, at least on the desktop.  I think Microsoft would be a better match with Harley Davidson.   I’ve always thought of Windows as the Hog of operating systems: fat, obnoxious, archaic, expensive, slow and cumbersome.  Oh well, maybe inside a car they are better.

    • 0 avatar

      Linux in the car would be much better. Hey my Bluetooth isn’t working. Guess I better go hunt down a solution on 16 different forums, get called a “noob” a bunch of times, and end up entering a string of nonsense on a command line. Go ’80s!

    • 0 avatar

      One thing’s for certain–when it comes to personal cars, Gates has it covered with his 959 (versus Torvald’s rather pedestrian Z3).  So if I ever break down on the way to Comdex (are they still in business?), I’m holding out for a lift from Bill “my way or the highway” Gates.

    • 0 avatar

      If you seriously think Microsoft’s products are “marginal at best”, well, I’m not sure what to say.
      Let’s just say I’ve been in the software engineering field for twenty years, and while I’ve had to deal with plenty of wet under the ears college graduates who love to bash Windows without knowing the first thing about actual Windows development, I’ve yet to to find a development environment that Windows isn’t head and shoulders above.
      They make good software.  They fail sometimes (e.g., Windows Mobile is dissapointing, and the Vista launch was horribly bungled, and I could go on about the Visual Studio 4.1 to 4.2 upgrade for hours if need be), but one of the reasons they’re in the place they are is their core products aren’t surpassed by competitors at what they’re designed to be.

    • 0 avatar

      If you seriously think Microsoft’s products are “marginal at best”, well, I’m not sure what to say.
      I’m serious, and I’m sure if you think for a while you can come up with something to say.

      They make good software.
      Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien. Not that anything related to computers is perfect, and we all know that good is always relative.  However, lest I be misunderstood, I’m not a MS basher.  They are what they are, and even Mussolini (or was it that other guy?) was able to make the trains run on time.  Today, their products are OK (much better than their business ethics), yet there’s always something better if you look hard enough.  DOS 5 was OK.  I really liked that, but it was not as good as the DR version.  That’s MS’s problem.  There’s always something better out there.  Windows was an abomination until the NT/2000 code (although the 95 interface was not bad–the fact that it’s still pretty much the same today attests to that fact).  I liked Publisher in its early version as it was the easiest thing out there, and cheap too.  Their latest server product is said to be good, but I don’t know from practical experience.
      I left MS after their 95 kept crashing for no good reason and I never looked back.  Generally, any Unix or Unix-like variant gives more bang for the buck, but, as people have commented, you have to know what you are doing.  And the car thing they’ve got going is also said to be useful, but I’ve not used it.

  • avatar

    Uvo, huh? Although it’s obviously biologically impossible, it sounds like the bastard love-child of Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales.

  • avatar

    Too bad it won’t be in Hyundai – branded cars; it would make the new Sonata unbeatable.

  • avatar

    Sync is huge and will help Kia as well. I’m surprised that they’re so shy with Hyundai. In Ontario, mandated hands free has pushed Sync to the forefront and made things like OnStar look antiquated.
    I’m amazed that Mazda didn’t get there first.

  • avatar

    “Cadenza?” Seriously? Hyundai-Kia is on a roll lately, but really, that name is terrible. Shame that it’s such a handsome-looking (albeit blandish) car. Just makes me think of “credenza.” Yes, I’d like to drive a boxy cabinet made for the side of a hallway…

  • avatar

    I don’t know – when I think of Microsoft Windows I think of crashing. I don’t think I want any part of their products in my cars.

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