US automotive giant Ford has forged a deal with Microsoft to develop new technology that the companies hope will make in-dash car stereo systems redundant.
The ‘Sync' system will enable most popular portable digital music players - including Apple's iPod range - to be linked to in-dash software via a USB port.
The technology is designed to enable drivers to choose songs, playlists and adjust the volume via voice commands or controls mounted on the steering wheel.
Other envisaged applications include mobile phone access via Bluetooth, internet radio reception and the ability to download information from a PDA to the car's in-dash multimedia interface system. The technology will also broadcast incoming SMS text messages via the car's audio system. In-car automated multimedia applications have been identified as one of the next great technological breakthroughs in terms of automotive design.
General Motors and DaimlerChrysler have been working on similar concepts based on their recently launched OnStar and MyGIG technologies respectively. Daimler Chrysler recently signed a contract with Hughes Telematics to develop in-car Bluetooth applications.
Ford will make Sync available as an option in 12 models planned for release in 2007 in the US. A spokesman for the car giant admitted that the company would consider removing CD players from its entire car range in the future. Microsoft is reportedly keen to pursue similar deals with rival auto makers in the future.
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