Microsoft In-Car SYNC System Hits Hyundai Next

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Credit where credit's due: Ford was the first automaker to risk afflicting their customers with the blue screen of death and install the Microsoft SYNC system in their products. Not only did Microsoft's in-car multiple device Bluetooth-enabled voice-activation thingie not serve-up a code 10, but Ford put it in their entry-level models AND milked it with plenty o' marketing. But Bill Gate's mob let it be known from the start– as did responsible members of the media– that SYNC was heading into rival products after an 18-month "window of exclusivity." And so, at the end of the year, Ford's bragging right will be defenestrated by none other than Korean budget car maker Hyundai– a Ford wannabe if there ever was one. Yup, Hyundai is next to SYNC up. The New York Times reports "Windows Automotive will first appear in Hyundai vehicles in North America in 2010, said Martin Thall, general manager of Microsoft’s automotive business unit. Subsequent versions will give drivers voice control over navigation systems and video entertainment, in addition to cellphones and digital music players." There was a brouhaha recently when rumors circulated that Ford would allow Microsoft to use SYNC for advertising, which they vigorously denied. Or at least didn't confirm. Yet. What's the bet Kia/Hyundai show similar restraint?

Robert Farago
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  • Bancho Bancho on May 06, 2008

    Umterp85 : "Maybe this Focus isn’t the dog that some on this site think." The new Focus may indeed be an ok car and a reasonable value but I've got some pretty strong opinions based on looking at them last weekend at a local dealer. Every single one had seats with ill fitting or installed upholstery. It seemed as if the seat upholstery was installed by monkeys using wooden mallets and pipe wrenches while hopped up on skittles and mescaline. The worst offenders were the ones with leather seats. The white thread on the black leather really helped accentuate the epic failure of the whole design. It's as if the designers had no idea what shape the cushions or seat frames were and just guessed (and it also appears that the designer had no idea that there would be seatbelts to account for either). Given that, I'd probably opt for a Hyundai or Kia based on the fact that although they lack the "glamor" of the Focus, at least someone took the time to make sure the interior was put together right. I'll be honest though in saying that if they could fix the stupid looking front end of the Focus and have the guy who led the seat team crucified the Focus would be a much better vehicle overall. The fact that it comes with SYNC in some models is nice too and probably draws some of the shoppers from some of the competition (although the Focus's EPA ratings are probably make a stronger statement overall).

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on May 06, 2008

    I'm not going to buy it b/c like so many other things it represents proprietary technology that only certain branded technology will work with. Some people might argue that this guarantees a better user experience but to me that only guarantees obsolecence on the manufactuer's schedule. I'll stick with an AUX in-port with a 1/8" inch stereo female port. Yeah I'm old school but my technology is universal. Another nice idea is the stereo that come with a USB port or SD card reader. Universal technology that anything works well with. This is about the same reason I went with Linux after being a Microsoft fan for several years. I figured out that the Linux guys have tried really hard to be compatible with everyone's formats whether they are open or closed or something in between. My mother has On-Star in her Envoy. It was nice she said. They used it once when they first bought the vehicle but when the subscription expired it became just another thing they carry around in the their vehicle 100% of the time. What's the point with a typical cellphone along for emergencies?

  • Theodore Theodore on May 07, 2008

    Am I the only person who actively doesn't want SYNC and similar technologies in his car? It's not just that it's Microsoft (although I'd sooner have Lucas electrics) - it's more that it's just something else that'll break. Well, that and I really don't want HAL riding shotgun.

  • Kevinb120 Kevinb120 on Jun 03, 2008

    "Ford instead of updating the car chassis and drivetrain they gave it some more lipstick and stuck in a gimmick. Once that gimmic loses its niche the Focus is well just a 10 year old car with a skin deep redesign. Same old story from GM/Ford with their small cars. Do a complete revamp every 15 years after they lose customers versus Toyondassan which provides a complete redesign every 5 years." Technically the Focus has a more robust and excellent suspension setup whereas the Civic has gone backwards and has been cheapened down from the setup 10 years ago. Corolla still rolls on an exact copy of the suspension from a 1984 Dodge Omni, so who is the least sophisticated again? And it is well under the price-point of the Hondota vehicles. Ford also offers another Focus to choose from in the form of the S40 and Mazda 3 if you want to break the $20k mark and have it be worth the money(unlike a Honda or Toyota as well)...So technically its an 8 year old platform, but still 10 years ahead of an 09 Corolla, Go figure. Build quality is on par (or better) with its competitors and there are a lot more gizmos to be had for much less money, with a better warranty then a few of them. (not sure what the seat comment was about, they all look fine here) If you haven’t used SYNC, I've spent plenty of time in new 7 series and CLS class and up MB's, and its far better then thier bluetooth offerings. Just copy a few thousand songs on a $40 USB thumb drive, plug it in the USB hub, and never touch the radio again(sync Foci can switch media, volume, and tracks on the wheel, and just about everything else is voice command). It also understands mispronunciations and can guess omitted words spoken for tracks or artists quite well. As for proprietary, it works with the EXTREMELY proprietary ipod(now THERE's a scam) and the zune, any thumb drive, and you can burn MP3 discs for the 6CD changer, not to mention you can play music you have saved on any bluetooth phone. So what's proprietary when you can use just about any possible way to store music? when Civic ads brag about finally getting an input headphone jack, yay. It is clear that a lot of people posting on TTAC have NO idea whatsoever what SYNC is Not bad for a car that sits you up higher then most, has lots of suspension travel, a great warranty, and a good swath of options for under $18k with a moonroof, alloy wheels, abs, and sync. Other then the 2000 models that CR dragged out the recalls(as they did the Windstar over 5 years after it was discontinued) from using a direct-from-Europe car that everyone cries for(the mondeo was a headache too as the contour), they are quite reliable cars, virtually indestructible after the 2005 re-hash.