Monday, February 22, 2010

Next Generation Ford Sync to Incorporate WiFi

Automotive manufacturers have been incorporating more and more technology into cars, and several have gone so far as to add WiFi, making the car a mobile hotspot. Any car equipped with Ford’s next-generation Sync system can be turned into a mobile hotspot.

Unlike other automakers that offer in-car WiFi, Ford does not require a separate subscription for the service. Instead, owners use a USB wireless card (obtained from a cell phone carrier) that gives them access to wireless anywhere service is available. Plugging the wireless card into the Sync USB port transforms the whole car into a mobile hotspot.

“While you’re driving to grandma’s house, your spouse can be finishing the holiday shopping and the kids can be chatting with friends and updating their Facebook profiles,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of the Americas. “And you’re not paying for yet another mobile subscription or piece of hardware because Ford will let you use technology you already have.”

Ford added this technology to its Sync system as people are becoming increasingly connected. Today, there is almost nowhere in the country someone can go and have no way to check email or Web sites to get news. According to a survey by the Consumer Electronics Association, more than one-third of Americans are interested in the ability to check email and access the Web while on the road.

In addition to providing a secure connection for adults to check email, the in-car WiFi also provides for the ultimate rear-seat entertainment system. Instead of using a DVD player and in-car TV screen, kids can now use their own (or their parents’) laptops to provide hours of entertainment perusing the Web or watching streaming video independently of the sibling sitting next to them.

With the new WiFi connection, Ford will also be able to more readily keep the systems up to date. Users will be able to download Sync updates that will allow them to connect and use most devices with the system. Ford’s new second-generation Sync system debuts on select vehicles sometime next year.