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Ford to Offer Factory-Installed HD Radios With iTunes Tagging in 2010

First auto manufacturer to offer the tagging capability in a factory-installed in-dash radio.

Ford plans to offer factory-installed HD Radio receivers with iTunes Tagging capability in 2010. The action makes Ford the first auto manufacturer to offer the tagging capability in a factory-installed in-dash radio.

With iTunes Tagging, users mark songs for later purchase via the iTunes Store.

Ford executive Mark Fields called iTunes Tagging and HD Radio technology “strong new additions” to Ford convenience features, chosen to bring a variety of “factory-installed customer-focused technology, features and conveniences to millions of people.”

HD Radio, along with its iTunes Tagging capability, will be in the Ford dash, alongside AM/FM radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. The automaker will also offer Internet radio through Ford’s connectivity system, SYNC, via a Bluetooth-streaming audio-capable smartphone. SYNC allows users to operate most MP3 players, Bluetooth-enabled phones and USB drives with voice commands.

The first implementation of iTunes Tagging in a factory-installed HD Radio receiver will launch in 2010 on select Ford vehicles. Through the SYNC system, iTunes Tagging will help Ford customers capture a song they hear on the HD Radio receiver for later purchase. By pushing the displayed “Tag” button, the song information will be stored in the radio’s memory.

Up to 100 tags on SYNC can be stored until the iPod is connected. When the iPod is then synced to iTunes, a playlist of “tagged” songs will appear. Customers then can preview and, if desired, purchase and download tagged songs from the iTunes Store.

All HD Radio-enabled receivers in Ford vehicles also will provide Program Service Data — information that appears on the radio screen and includes song title, artist name and more.