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Say the Frequency, Find the Station in Ford Sync3

Audio is on home screen, along with navigation and phone icons

For the past few years, automakers have been wrestling with how much stuff to display on their large-screen infotainment systems. It’s been a balancing act between throwing everything up on the screen just because they have the technology, vs. paring back for simplicity’s sake, as we’ve reported.

In its third and latest generation of Ford Sync, the automaker has chosen simplicity.
Ford says its Sync3 communications and entertainment system is faster, features more conversational voice recognition with an easier-to-understand graphical interface and has a more intuitive smartphone-like touch screen. It starts arriving on vehicles in 2015.

Customers “tell us this kind of technology is an important part of their decision to buy our vehicles,” says Ford CTO/Group VP Global Product Development Raj Nair.

Audio is a choice on the home screen, along with navigation and phone. The user sees tile-like icons, with access to a function tray along the bottom.

To hear a song, the user says “play [song title, artist, album or genre] to prompt the system. To switch back to a radio station, the user says the ‘terrestrial radio station number,’” which is Ford-speak for frequency, or the user says the name of an SiriusXM channel.

Using AppLink, consumers can connect their smartphone to the car and control compatible apps using voice commands or buttons on the vehicle display. AppLink automatically discovers smartphone apps including Pandora, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio Auto, NPR One and SiriusXM Radio, along with their unique graphics and branding, according to the automaker. Music and news apps are displayed as well with other media sources like AM/FM or SiriusXM.

Ford Global Product Manager of AppLink Julius Marchwicki says the overall design of Sync3 “allows for better integration with smartphones — resulting in a more user-friendly experience.”