Archive for the 'entertainment' Category

10
Jan
12

Ford’s Sync in-car computer now inside 4M cars, adds on-demand NPR and navigation apps

source: MobileBeat

Ford’s in-car computer, Sync, is now installed in 4 million vehicles. To celebrate the milestone, the car company has added new abilities including hands-free voice navigation from Telenav and on-demand access to National Public Radio programs. The company announced the milestone and new apps at the Consumer Electronics Show Monday in Las Vegas.

In-car technology was one of the five big CES trends we predicted that would matter in 2012. Car markers, especially Ford, are racing (har har) to add connectivity and apps to their vehicle dashboards. Mercedes-Benz is expected to announce new in-car tech at CES as well.

Ford’s voice-activated Sync connectivity system was introduced in 2007 in the U.S. and lets smartphone owners do more with their cars by “syncing” with various smartphone apps. Ford will be bringing Sync to European and Asian models this year, and it believes an additional 9 million vehicles will be Sync-equipped by 2015.

One new Sync addition is a feature that lets drivers listen to National Public Radio programs and stations on-demand. Drivers will be able to piece together playlists comprised of programs such as Fresh AirAll Things Considered and Morning Edition using their voices. Just download the NPR smartphone app and you can begin to use with it Sync AppLink, which already works with Internet radio apps like Pandora, Slacker, iHeartRadio and Stitcher.

Ford also has updated its Sync Destinations mobile app, which lets drivers send all their destinations to their vehicle using the iPhone. The app now has added AppLink capabilities, and it can give turn-by-turn directions and it let drivers report traffic incidents in real-time. The Sync Destinations app will hit the BlackBerry and Android platforms before the end of Q1 2012.

Another upcoming addition to Sync is the ability to work with the new Scout navigation app by Telenav. The Scout app is available now for the iPhone and provides personalized navigation, turn-by-turn directions and traffic-based drive times. The Scout app will work with Sync later this year.

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11
Oct
11

How NW companies helped Ford with in-car technology

Source: TechFlash

With the help of Microsoft and some local tech startup companies, drivers of some new Ford vehicles now have more technology at their fingertips.

Products from TeleNav and Seatte’s Airbiquity are implemented in MyFord Touch, an all-in-one setup in selected new Ford vehicles that allow users to do just about anything – make phone calls, use navigation, change the radio station or change the vehicle temperature, all with voice commands or a touchscreen.

Ford’s Sync system has been available for a few years. The underlying technology was developed by Microsoft, but MyFord Touch builds upon Sync and adds numerous capabilities.

But implementing the technology raised two concerns: keeping drivers safe and making it usable for most people.

Jennifer Brace, user interface design engineer with Ford, said numerous federal regulations are in place to keep a driver’s attention on the road.

Continue reading ‘How NW companies helped Ford with in-car technology’

10
Jan
11

Consumer Electronics Show: Pandora’s Tim Westergren on car connectivity, smartphones and a potential IPO

As major automakers took the stage one after the other at CES, it wasn’t just their sweeping vehicle connectivity plans that made them sound like a broken record.  It was the constant reference to Pandora.

The Internet radio company, led by founder Tim Westergren, will offer its services through smartphones integrated into infotainment designs from Ford, Toyota, BMW and several other car companies.

Westergren still remembers talks several years ago with the automakers gaining “no momentum,” when the focus was all on spiffy navigation technology.

But then smartphones such as the iPhone emerged and the market for Pandora “just went berserk” and the audience doubled, he said at the electronics show in Las Vegas. The company’s music platform is now accessible from more than 200 devices.

Once users started plugging various gadgets into their vehicle auxiliary jacks, automakers finally perked up and took notice.

“The phones changed the whole equation,” Westergren said, sitting in a Ford Mustang, which will access Pandora through the AppLink feature. “Now, if you want to be a radio service, that’s half the market. It feels like we’ve reached critical mass.”

Catering to customized radio listeners as they drive is now a “huge priority” for Pandora, where “a quarter of the staff is chasing cars right now,” he said.

“We’re kind of in execution  mode right now,” Westergren said. “We want to be in every single car on every single phone.”

Well, maybe every car but, Westergren himself listens to his favorite Ben Folds channel on his iPhone and iPad while taking public transportation.

Looking forward, he said he might consider taking the company public.

“We’ve been through a long road to get here,” he said. “This company should have been dead long ago. But now I can be more ambitious about what we can accomplish. It’s surreal.”

 




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