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In sync with Sync?
In sync with Sync?
Posted by Cliff Weathers, Consumer Reports

At today's Detroit auto show, Ford was the recipient of much hype and star power when it introduced its Sync collaboration with Microsoft.

Old-money Ford chairman Bill Ford trotted out new-money Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates on a satellite link from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to introduce the system, which should provide seamless integration between vehicles and various electronic gadgets, such as Bluetooth phones and digital audio players.

A mobile phone's telephony features, like address books, ringers, and speed dialing, are integrated through your vehicle's driver interaction system. The phone's voice recognition system can make them all hands free. Digital audio players, which will hook up through a USB port, will display their menu functions on the driver interaction screen and play through the audio system. (We hope they'll feature Bluetooth in the near future.) Even USB jump drives loaded with music will play on the car's audio system through the USB port.

But while Ford was making its big splash with this mobile device gateway, automotive supplier Johnson Controls quietly introduced practically the same thing in a small conference room upstairs in Cobo Hall.

Johnson says it is in talks with several automakers that are interested in this kind of connectivity and it might be found in production cars within a few years. So, don't think Ford has a better idea; it has a good idea that many others in the industry have had as well. No news yet as to whether the band *NSYNC will be endorsing either technology.

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.