Band offers tracking, emergency health information with app, but limited functionality
Smartbands of all sorts are hitting the market. Some build on the buzz around fitness trackers, while others offer simpler features for specific needs. Once such band is the ActvContent Sync Smartband, a wrist-worn device that allows tracking through a smartphone or quick access to medical information in the case of an emergency. But does the ActvContent Sync offer enough to warrant a purchase, or would users be better off spending their money on something with more features? Find out in our review.
Bass-heavy headphones provide sweat resistance during workout, lackluster sound
When hitting the gym or going out for a trail run, headphones can cause a number of problems. From the ear buds getting slimy with sweat or the ear cups not holding onto the user's head tightly enough, there are a bunch of inconveniences that occur. This isn't even considering the cords that can get in the way, resulting in headphones flying off someone's head or a plug being yanked from a device. Is there a set of headphones that can put active people at ease when wearing them? Perhaps, as SMS Audio, the company led by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, has released an active version of its Sync on-ear wireless headphones. Do the SMS Audio Sync Sports give users everything they want, while delivering great audio? Find out in our review.
Headphones available in on-ear, in-ear models endorsed by Carmelo Anthony
SMS Audio, the headphone company that features rapper 50 Cent as a majority owner, released four new pairs of headphones today. The new headphones are part of the SMS Audio Sport Collection, featuring on-ear and in-ear versions of two existing models. The Sync and Street by 50 headphones are endorsed by company investor and partner Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks.
Add-on service to capitalize on iPhone, Mac popularity
On Thursday, Apple opened its iTunes Match cloud storage and syncing add-on service to Japan, two-and-a-half years after its original US debut, and in time to take full advantage of the iPhone's staggering popularity in the country. During a conference call with analysts, CEO Tim Cook said that the iPhone now accounts for more than 57 percent marketshare, and that Mac sales have also improved -- seeing "double digit" increases. The subscription-based service is ideal for users who want to carry around large libraries of music with the confines of the space-limited iPhone.
Xbox One update due February 11, adds battery life indicator
Microsoft's Xbox One is set to have an update released, addressing issues encountered by users since the console's launch. The update is due February 11th, featuring issue corrections regarding storage management, and the addition of a battery life indicator for the console's controller. Libraries will be split into two separate lists of 'My Games' and 'My Apps', as to simplify file searches. Also expected in the update is the added ability to use a USB keyboard with the console.
Microsoft has until December 31st to roll out CalDAV, CardDAV support
Google has extended the use of Sync for Windows Phone Users until December 31st. Google Sync, which provides integration with Google's contact and calendar services, was initially set to be closed to new activations on August 1st, but this has been extended further than the already-extended cut-off date to the end of this year.
App uses BitTorrent protocol, encryption to synchronize files
BitTorrent has launched its free file synchronization software as a beta, and has introduced a mobile app version of its client. BitTorrent Sync allows for files stored on various devices to be synchronized across all the systems, effectively providing a similar service to Dropbox and SugarSync, though without storing files on a server online.
First-generation module arrived with 2008 Focus for $395
A first-generation Ford Sync hardware module was celebrated at the Silicon Valley Computer History Musuem on Monday. The device is among the first automotive technologies not found under the hood to be inducted into the museum. Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company and Henry Ford's great grandson, spoke at the induction.
Already compatible with forthcoming OS X 10.8
Freeridecoding has updated its backup and syncing utility SmartBackup to version 3.3, which offers general improvements as well as a sleek, iOS-inspired new look for the user interface. The program is aimed as a more-configurable and intelligent alternative to Apple's own Time Machine software, which eschews customization in favor of simplification. The new version is also already compatible with OS X 10.8, Mountain Lion, which is coming later this summer.
Software unites separate video and audio
PluralEyes 3.0 has debuted at the NAB convention, offering video editors a wholly re-designed way to sync separate video and audio sources automatically, quickly and accurately. The product, aimed at videographers who use various cameras to record multiple video angles and get their audio from a separate source, analyzes and unifies those sources to stay in sync throughout the editing process. The new version functions as a standalone program.
Chevy GogoLink to undercut Ford for GPS options
GM on Wednesday sought to counter the navigation side of Ford Sync with a unique option depending on smartphones. GogoLink will give Chevy Sonic and Spark drivers in-car, turn-by-turn navigation by using a smartphone app that relays its position and info to the touchscreen in the center stack. It should range from basic points of interest coverage with offline map caching to Google-based local searches, live traffic, and 3D mapping.
Sync coming to Europe in Ford B-Max first
Ford at MWC revealed it will debut its Sync in-car infotainment system in Europe on the upcoming B-Max minivan. The service will be available in nine languages, including UK English, EU French, EU Spanish, EU Portuguese, German, Italian, Turkish, Dutch, and Russian. At the same time, the carmaker introduced Sync AppLink globally, the system meant to allow drivers to operate their handsets using their voice.
Ford Sync updates get our teardown
Ford brought out a slew of updates to its Sync system in time for CES, and we've had the opportunity to try them all in time for CES. Sync Destinations has been given an update that now lets drivers send directions directly to the phone rather than just talking to Ford's cloud services. We saw it in action, and it's a very straightforward process that uses your device's Sync Destinations app as a form of direction store: a Bluetooth (Android or BlackBerry) or USB (these plus iOS) link uploads the files, and the phone can get directions pushed to it from Google Maps on the web.
US customers to see new apps in first half of 2012
Daimler and Google announced the strengthening of their strategic partnership, giving Daimler programmers full access to the suite of Google application programming interfaces (API) known collectively as Google Maps API for Business. The collaboration will enable Daimler to use Google Maps for their in-car map displays and speed development of other automotive apps.
We test drive Telenav's Scout app for Fords
We were given the chance to check out the product of the recently-inked Telenav and Ford deal at an event at the CES show. The smartphone Scout app will allow users to take their personal trips on the road with them, as it will seamlessly transfer from their smartphone screen to Ford's Sync-system equipped cars. It requires a constant data flow and GPS signal access from the smartphone, as content isn't stored locally on the car's hardware.
Free commentary offered for limited time
Fans of bad-movie-riffing comedy as was made popular by Mystery Science Theater 3000 can now enjoy new comedic commentaries on movies both bad and good with the release of RiffPlayer for Mac and Windows. The player automatically syncs purchased MP3 commentaries from the RiffTrax crew to user-purchased DVDs of the movie to be parodied, from major cult blockbusters to obscure public-domain B-movies.
Ford Sync now takes Slacker voice commands
Ford's Sync system gained a new choice for AppLink direct control through Slacker. Those with updated versions of Slacker for iOS (App Store), Android Market), or BlackBerry (App World) can both stream radio from 3G or 4G to the car stereo system as well as use voice commands to start playback, skip, ban, or favorite tracks without touching the phone. Controls work both for online and for cached tracks.
Works with Mac, Windows, Android, iOS
Trend Micro has launched its own cloud-based subscription backup and sync service called SafeSync, featuring browser-based management and compatibility with Macs, Windows PCs, Android and iOS devices. The service, which offers various levels of storage starting at 20GB up to 100GB, offers both automatic sync as well as drag-and-drop manual syncing. The new SafeSync now supports Mac OS X Lion with native 64-bit support for 10.5 and higher.
Ford remakes MyFord Touch to upgrade, fix UI
Ford kicked off the Los Angeles Motor Show by unveiling a remake of its MyFord Touch interface that it knew drivers were hoping for. The interface addresses the early user complaints and is both considerably easier to understand as well as more responsive to touch input. Audio, climate control, navigation, and phone calls all have more readily accessible common controls and are less cluttered, and the four are united by a home screen that's both easier to understand and quicker to use for top-level features.
Way to make iCloud sync files with Macs discovered
Users who have purchased at least one of the latest iWork applications and are iCloud members may be able to sync all kinds of documents -- not just iWork files -- between Macs running Lion, researchers have discovered. Putting files in a special folder inside the (normally hidden) user's Library folder "pushes" the file to iCloud and other Macs that have the same iCloud account. The feature could be sign of a future iCloud expansion, or just a bug that Apple will block eventually.
User-downloadable upgrade at Ford Sync website
Ford has released a free software update for its SYNC in-car system. Version G1 V3.2.2 will give more SYNC users the ability to have text messages read aloud to them while driving through the emerging Bluetooth Message Access Profile (MAP). Last year, Ford praised RIM for embracing the standard, and called on other manufacturers and OS developers to do so. HTC, Samsung and LG have all only recently been certified for the MAP protocol.
PocketMac was former official BB-to-Mac provider
PocketMac, which for years was the officially-sanctioned way to sync data between Research In Motion's BlackBerry phones and Macs, has now launched a new program for the iPhone called BerryMover ($10) that syncs contacts, text messages, e-mail, notes, calendar data and task from a BlackBerry to iTunes, where it can be copied to the iPhone and imported into the proper apps. The program uses the normal BlackBerry ".ipd" backup files for transfer.
Ford AppLink to get Spotify streaming
Ford has reached a deal with Spotify to integrate its Internet music streaming into AppLink. Drivers with Sync-equipped cars will have the option of controlling at least some parts of Spotify through the car's center stack and voice commands rather than having to use an iPhone or Android phone. The two haven't said when it will be ready.
Ford Evos fastback would have always-on Internet
Ford led into the Frankfurt Auto Show with a radical take on a car where Internet access and cloud storage is vital. The Evos Concept plug-in hybrid uses the cloud to store preferences about most aspects of the car. It can recognize driver behavior and optimize the powertrain to reflect driver habits, while it could could pick up an Internet radio stream from where the driver left off at home, shut off house lights when leaving, and pre-heat or cool the car based on the driver's schedule, not just the temperature.
Ford and Toyota unite on Microsoft tech
Ford and Toyota made a rare alliance for in-car technology on Monday. The two will collaborate on telematics and "Internet-based services" to help establish common standards. Both will keep developing their existing systems, which include Ford Sync and Toyota's Entune.
Available on base model 2012 Explorer and Edge
Ford announced that its SYNC system will be an option on all models of the Ford Edge and Explorer beginning with the 2012 model year. In addition, the price of the system will drop by $100. During the next three years, Ford will introduce the new SYNC pricing and choice strategy across the entire North American lineup. Ford will rollout the new pricing next for model year 2013 Escape, Flex, Focus, and Taurus automobiles.
Car systems such as OnStar, Sync, more hacked
Security researchers from iSEC Partners claim to have found a way to unlock vehicles from four large manufacturers using a cellphone and a text message. Don Bailey and Mathew Solnik can access remote control and telemetry systems from BMW (Assist), GM (OnStar), Ford (Sync), and Hyundai (Blue Link). They reverse-engineered access using off-the-shelf parts and a few hours of their time.
Ford working with medical companies on Sync apps
Ford announced it is working with several healthcare experts to bring health-monitoring services to its Sync in-car information and entertainment system. Through the system's Bluetooth connection, Sync could pair with glucose measuring devices to warn drivers with diabetes of high levels. Those with asthma or allergies could also check up on their status right from the car's Sync screen.
Sync When Available option syncs mobile macs
Econ Technologies has launched updates to its file-sync software titles, ChronoSync 4.2 and ChronoAgent for Mac 1.2. ChronoSync works with files and folders, syncing between folders on a Mac, multiple Macs, Macs and PCs and external drives. It essentially serves as a sync utility for folders located on any mountable source. The synchronizations can be scheduled and the software will automatically mount available volumes as needed.
Toyota Microsoft deal uses Azure for in-car cloud
Microsoft and Toyota preempted their own special event with word of their plans for in-car cloud technology. Toyota's cars, starting from its 2012 electric cars and plug-in hybrids, will use Windows Azure's cloud services to improve in-car telematics. The upgrades should extend to anything from managing the car battery to music playback and GPS navigation.
Microsoft and Toyota to have April 6 event
Microsoft and Toyota late Tuesday organized a special event for April 6 at 4PM Eastern. The two said little about what it would involve but alluded to a "collaboration" between them. It was important enough that Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer and his Toyota equivalent, Akio Toyoda, would both be present.
Tesla Model S to get third-party app support
Tesla chief Elon Musk at the Cleantech Forum on Wednesday said the Tesla Model S would get third-party app support. He hoped developers would write car-specific apps for the 17-inch, Tegra-powered touchscreen system in the electric sedan. Text-to-speech was cited as a major example at the San Francisco meet as it would help cut down on driver distraction from reading text during a drive.
Ford to expand Sync language support to 19
Ford will take the opportunity at the CeBIT show in Germany on Tuesday to release its
Sync in-car infotainment system globally, with voice recognition support for 19 languages. The carmaker has worked with Nuance Communications, its partner in the voice recognition tech for the system, to recognize 10,000 voice commands in 19 languages. This includes abbreviations for text messaging.
Chevy intros MyLink to take on Ford Sync
Chevy tonight kicked off GM's own alternative to Ford Sync. MyLink is designed to pair up with smartphones and will stream audio and handle calls from smartphones over Bluetooth. Like its challenger, it uses voice commands (here handled using Nuance's engine) and will directly control smartphone apps aware of the interface, starting with Internet radio from Pandora and Stitcher.
Ford to use Wi-Fi and phones for car warnings
Ford this morning claimed to be the first car builder to develop a practical wireless system that would let cars talk to each other. Using Wi-Fi or a secure FCC-given frequency, cars would detect each other within range and warn each other of traffic dangers. It could alert the driver of other cars reaching a blind intersection, if a car up ahead has suddenly stopped or gone erratic, or if a traffic jam would make a detour faster.
Sync tool manages multiple iTunes libraries, more
SuperSync, a tool that allows users to merge, compare, sync and serve their music across multiple computers, accounts, libraries and even the net, has been updated to v4, with an all-new GUI, faster speed and performance, support for managing libraries under multiple user accounts on the same computer, improved mobile-device support and a new internet search for album art and additional information among other features.
Ford outs Sync Destinations GPS smartphone app
Ford upgraded its mobile Sync features again tonight with the addition of one of its own apps. Sync Destinations borrows cues from Google Maps and will push directions and map search results from an Android device, iPhone or iPad to any 2010 or 2011 Ford that supports at least Sync's TDI (Traffic, Directions and Information) services. The link provides spoken directions that account for the departure and arrival times, both current and historical traffic patterns, and searches for businesses or contacts.
Ford Sync AppLink ready for Android, BlackBerry
Ford tonight acted on a promised upgrade to Sync and launched AppLink. The framework lets third-party smartphone apps talk to and control Sync with only the app, not the car, having to know the tasks. An updated Pandora Radio can stream audio from its 3G connection to the car, give the dash display track ID, and support thumbs up or down through spoken controls; the Twitter client OpenBeak can feed updates and read them back with text-to-speech.
Palm, Garmin, PSP now - more coming soon
GoGadget is a new program for Mac from third-party sync experts Mark/Space that promises to allow iTunes and iPhoto syncing with almost any third-party media player through a simple, intuitive interface. The program will sync photos, music, video, documents and even ringtones from your Mac to the third-party device simply using the USB cable, limited only by what the device is capable of playing or displaying.
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.
Version 2.6 adds 64-bit support in Snow Leopard
Eltima Software has updated its multi-platform sync software, SyncMate 2.6. SyncMate allows users to sync between Macs, PCs, Android devices, Windows Mobile phones, the Nokia S40, Sony PlayStation Portables and USB flash drives. It can also sync with Google accounts, back up Mac data online, or simultaneously sync all connected devices.
Update available as a configuration file
Apple has posted a fix for Exchange sync issues with iOS 4. Many users encountered problems attempting to sync with Exchange ActiveSync Mail, Contacts, or Calendars after updating to iOS 4. The issue reportedly caused a complete failure for some users, or an excessively slow sync for others.
Ford Fiesta deliveries will have digital component
Ford today said that buyers of the 2011 Fiesta will get a special USB drive along with the car. Plugging it into the USB port in the car itself will give a 19-minute tour of the features on the drive home. Reaching a computer will also give the option of a Fiesta Community app that pools together a Wiki, podcasts, forums, dealer links and an image tool to edit the photo taken at the dealership.
Calendars, e-mails, tasks merged
PocketMac has released a new utility, PlayNice, designed to enable syncing between Windows and Mac systems. The software allows users to sync contacts, calendars and tasks, with support for iCal and Address Book on Macs and Outlook on Windows-based PCs.
GM to partner with Google on Sync competitor?
General Motors is in talks with Google on developing an in-car telematics system to compete with Ford and Microsoft's Sync, a rumor claimed today. At least one source for Motor Trend believed Google's Android mobile OS will be adapted for in-car use. The system would allow GM's cars to pair up with any smartphone for wireless conversations, music streaming and perhaps even more, such as opening, starting or adjusting the systems of the cars; Sync can't currently touch the car's full equipment.
New version opens, edits files, syncs via email
SugarSync has announced the availability of its second version of SugarSync for iPad with new edit and sync capabilities. The app syncs files between the iPad and the SugarSync cloud, which supports files and folders from any combination of Macs and PCs. It allows always-available access to documents, photos and music, along with music streaming.
Content migrated via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
Mark/Space has introduced an update to The Missing Sync for Android. Version 1.3 adds the ability to sync a PC or Mac with an Android handset without using a cable. Users can choose either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth options to sync content such as contacts, music, photos, or other files. The update also offers notes syncing, as the company's Fliq Notes app is now available for the Android platform.
Sync software reorganized for ease of use
PocketMac has launched an update to its self-titled sync software for BlackBerry users. The software syncs BlackBerry handsets with Apple's Mail, iCal and iTunes software, along with Entourage 2004/2008 and Now's Contact and Up-To-Date utilities. It can also sync Mac Stickies or transfer iPhoto content to a smartphone. Each sync also backs up call logs and SMS history.
Ford system to allow DIY in-car 3G
Ford today upgraded its Sync in-car system with its first ever Internet access. Just referred to as Sync Wi-Fi, the feature lets a car using an updated version of the entertainment system share a 3G connection with passengers over a Wi-Fi bridge. Unlike the Autonet systems used by Chevrolet and Chrysler, however, the Ford approach has users supply their own modem and relies on the USB port to plug in a 3G stick from multiple carriers.
Six students create two apps for Ford's SYNC
Ford has employed the help of six students from the University of Michigan to help it develop the first ever apps for its SYNC in-car, voice-activated multimedia user interface. To this end, it has developed an application programming interface (API) and had the students build two mobile apps that are totally compatible with SYNC. The automaker will open up its API to the developer community sometime next year pending successful beta testing.