updated 07:20 pm EDT, Fri October 8, 2010
Ford pushes phone text standard, hyperlocal Sync
Ford at its CTIA keynote on Friday made a pair of efforts both to drive standards and to tease the future of where its Sync services were headed. The automaker said it was officially embracing Bluetooth's Message Access Profile, which lets paired devices get at a device's SMS messages to send or receive text, and called on phone OS designers to do the same. RIM's BlackBerry phones were doing it but others weren't, Global Product Development VP Derrick Kuzak said.
Apple and Google are so far some of the notable exceptions to the rule. It's not clear what has kept the format out so far.
Sync will already have a layer of integration with apps across platforms through its Applink process. Titles that so far include Pandora, Stitcher and the Twitter client OpenBeak can work directly with a Ford car to stream Internet radio or check post updates from a tethered phone, including using voice commands specific to those apps. Blackberry phones already support it for a launch in about two weeks' time, but iPhones are about six months behind due to the need for an authentication chip to work with Apple hardware.
On top of promises for the short-term, Kuzak also promised that Sync could get significantly more advanced in the future and stressed hyperlocal features, or very immediate location-based services. He suggested that Sync could not only give GPS directions as it does today but provide context specific to the road ahead, such as warning about a dangerous intersection or traffic conditions. It could similarly target not just available parking garages but narrow down to individual parking spaces.
Social networking could also play a role. Instead of turning to a separate service like Yelp for restaurants, a Sync-equipped car could turn to the driver's own social network for advice on where to go.
The executive didn't say how close these features might be to realization.
OpenBeak Twitter updates spoken from a BlackBerry (2011 Fiesta)