Ford's popular voice-recognition and connectivity software, Sync, will now be on permanent display in the Computer History Museum. Located in Mountain Valley, California, the Museum holds scores of computing milestones from the last century.
Museum curator Alex Bochannek said in a statement that Ford Sync was chosen for inclusion because it marked the point when automotive and computing platforms began to merge. "Ford Motor Company's collaboration with Microsoft on Sync technology is an example of this changing landscape," he said. "The Computer History Museum is pleased to add a first-generation Ford Sync module to its permanent collection."
Ford Sync was launched as a $395 for the 2008 Focus, and the technology later became available on every Ford vehicle. Today the system is in more than four million cars; Ford hopes that by further rolling out Sync in foreign countries, nine million vehicles globally will have Sync by 2015. In addition to hands-free phone calls and voice-recognition control of MP3 players, Sync software has been upgraded with features like Vehicle Health Report, 911 Assist, and the AppLink function that includes Pandora and Stitcher internet radio. In the video below, engineers discuss the development process of Ford Sync.
Since then, most of Ford's competitors have launched their own versions of Sync, including Kia's UVO, Hyundai's BlueLink, and Cadillac's CUE. Microsoft rival Apple also threw its hat into the ring by announcing that some automakers will include a button to activate the Siri voice-recognition feature of the latest iPhone and iPad software.
The Computer History Museum houses important computer artifacts from every decade since the beginning of the 20th century, and even includes older items like the abacus adding device. Exhibits range from a prototype of the Atari 2600 gaming system and CRAY-1 supercomputer, to the Palm Pilot and first IBM PC.