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Ford SYNC to Read Text Messages Aloud

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author photo by Nick Palermo October 2011

Numerous recent studies have confirmed the dangers of distracted driving. Averting eyes and attention from the road significantly slows reaction time, a key factor in avoiding accidents. As mobile phones are increasingly used for texting and web browsing, they present a greater distraction to drivers. Ford's latest update to its SYNC voice-activated entertainment and communications system gives drivers a safer option. The update allows SYNC to read text messages aloud so drivers can stay focused on the road.

Ford included the functionality in MyFord Touch-equipped vehicles for 2011, but owners of 2011 and early 2012 SYNC-equipped vehicles will need to download and install the update to add message readback. The new feature is made possible by an emerging standard for exchanging email, SMS and MMS between devices. Called Message Access Profile (MAP) for Bluetooth, the standard is customized for use in vehicles to enhance hands-free functionality.

Only MAP mobile devices are compatible with SYNC's message readback feature, but MAP technology is becoming more common, with manufacturers including HTC, RIM, Samsung and LG joining the push. Ford voluntarily adopted MAP hoping more mobile phone manufacturers will follow suit. Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) promotes MAP adoption and says it is catching on.

"Texting is becoming a ubiquitous part of our day, so it stands to reason the remote message access profile is an essential addition for handsets, automobiles, headsets and aftermarket car kits," said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director Bluetooth SIG. "The Bluetooth MAP standard gives users the ability to simply and smartly manage incoming text messages from their vehicle while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road."

Ford drivers can visit www.syncmyride.com to check availability and download the MAP support update, called G1 V3.2.2, or other SYNC updates using their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN.)

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Ford SYNC to Read Text Messages Aloud - Autotrader