By on January 12, 2010

Hmmm... almost. (

Automotive News [sub] reports that supplier giant Denso, which is 23 percent owned by Toyota, will launch a competitor to Ford’s Sync system. The system, named Blue Harmony, will provide music, directions, e-mail, Internet radio, news headlines and other driver distractions through a touchscreen on the center of the instrument panel, according to Denso sources. The system will use Denso apps to bring Pandora internet radio, Facebook, Flickr and other web-based services to the Blue Harmony platform.

According to AN [sub]:

Unlike some voice-activated infotainment systems on the market, BlueHarmony does not require specific voice prompts to, for example, play a particular song over the vehicle’s sound system.

What this means exactly isn’t clear, but apparently the system allows users to create a new station on the customizable Pandora system simply by saying, “I want to make a new Pandora station.” Another confusing point: whether the system is based on Microsoft’s platform, which underpins Blue Harmony’s established competitor from Ford.

Denso hasn’t announced which OEMs will feature the Blue Harmony system when it goes into production in 2011, but Toyota is a safe guess. Ford has said that Sync-equipped vehicles move off the lots faster, and thanks to Kia’s recent decision to jump into the fray, the voice-activated media system is starting to look like part of the price of competition for value brands in the US market. At least until Ray LaHood realizes that they don’t actually reduce the dangers of distracted driving and bans them.

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15 Comments on “Denso Jumping Into Sync Wars...”

  • avatar

    Hyundai/Kia has already partnered with Microsoft….to the tune of a multi-million dollar joint venture (24 million if I recall.)  I wonder how much of Ford’s Sync is proprietary and covered by Ford patents.  It doesn’t seem like these competitors are too worried about any Ford patents. Ford was tauting Pandora radio presets at CES last week. Ford also showed voice text messaging.

    • 0 avatar
      Telegraph Road

      Hopefully, patents won’t rule–innovation will.  That said, Ford has a long head start and doesn’t appear to be losing ground.

    • 0 avatar

      A lot of Sync is proprietary and covered by Ford patents. From what I learned of it, Microsoft’s OS provides the core, but Ford and other Ford vendors provided the GUI work, and most of the work on the voice controls and the Bluetooth connection between Sync and a Bluetooth phone.

  • avatar

    GREAT! Facebook? Now all those loser cell phone texters that back up traffic as they send useless messages to their friends about how bad their day was (and can’t wait to get home to pick up a phone) have one more distraction to cause highway accidents. Pathetic.

    • 0 avatar

      At least they will be able to do it with voice.  I can’t believe how many people I see propping their cell phones on the wheel and texting while trying to drive…scary.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah…because holding the phone is the issue.
      Just ignore the multiple studies that say ‘hands-free’ systems are just as dangerous as non-hands free systems.

  • avatar

    While I like the idea, I am not sure about facebook and flickr.  Maybe for the passenger in the car, but I think it is a bad idea overall.
    I do like how for is allowing a USB connection for data connections on the cellular networks.  That way you don’t have to have another bill from a service provider.

  • avatar

    All of these systems should be made illegal to have…or only function when the vehicle is in park with the parking brake set (not navigation).
    SYNC is encouraging people to talk and drive…which is very careless and disgusting on Ford’s part.  Being in a telephone conversation while driving is extremely unsafe…and people cannot do it.  They cannot handle talking and driving.
    Ford may just as well put a keg of beer in the trunk and provide all of the provisions necessary to allow people to drink that keg while driving…while talking on the phone.

  • avatar

    I rarely use a cell phone and drive though I contend hands free is safe than talking to a live person in the car because the natural inclination is to look at the person your talking to.

    • 0 avatar

      Talking on a cell phone is just as dangerous as drunk driving, hands-free or not. Talking to a passenger is much safer.
      Try reading some studies before issuing such grand contentions.

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t consider it a GRAND contention, however, for me personally someone being present in the car is much more distracting than talking on a hands free phone. Also, I completely agree with texting being a big no-no. I can’t understand how ANYONE can do that and drive safely.

  • avatar

    Haha, good one, Telegraph.

    – Onstar operator, how can I help you, Mr. Jones?
    – I need directions to the nearest hospital immediately, my wife is going into labor!
    – I’m sorry sir, please pull over to the side of the road, put the vehicle in Park, and we can continue this conversation.

  • avatar

    Talking to a person on a phone is much more distracting (hands-free or not) than a person in the car, whose hand gestures and facial expressions communicate subtle meanings, lowering the “load” on the brain – you only need occasional glances to fill in the gaps. Also, the passenger has a stake in presenting the driver with demanding and stressful communications, a phone caller has no such limitations. I usually leave my phone off, or use it for low-stress things like ordering a pizza on the way home.

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