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SYNC With MyFord Touch: Automotive Infotainment For All

In-Car Wireless Networking And Ford's MyKey Feature

Ford equips its SYNC system with wireless networking capabilities. The integrated controller supports the 802.11b/g standards, which are perfectly adequate for in-car use. You can connect it to your home's wireless network, though there isn't much to do once you're connected to the Internet.

The biggest draw is the controller's ability to create a wireless access point for passengers inside the car. Conceivably, you could have three passengers on laptops, all banging away on their keyboards online.

SYNC with MyFord Touch can also share wireless data connections via Bluetooth or USB modems. If your smartphone supports Bluetooth tethering via DUN (dial-up networking) or PAN (personal area networking), you simply enable Internet sharing. The phone's connection is subsequently available to anyone using a Wi-Fi-enabled device. If you're using a USB-based modem instead, simply plug it into one of the Media Hub's ports and, again, enable sharing in the system options. Just make sure your USB modem is compatible first. 

We tested Internet sharing using our rooted and flashed Galaxy Nexus (with the AOKP ROM), extending its 4G LTE data connection to an Apple iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab2 7.0 without any signal integrity issues. Our one complaint about Bluetooth connectivity is that you have to re-enable the personal-area network every time the phone is paired to the system. That's every time you get into the car. Really, we wish that Ford would implement an auto-reconnect option.

Fortunately, if you're using a USB-based modem, that problem shouldn't nag at you, since the modem has its own configuration menu. The only thing you'll need to worry about is data usage. With multiple passengers taking advantage of your car's cool technology, it's particularly easy to drain a smaller plan, even by browsing the Web.

Ford MyKey

Ford includes a programmable "nanny" called MyKey that ties itself to your key fob. The car's owner can designate one key with administrative rights, if you will, and a second key with more restrictive limitations. Some of configurable variables are sound system volume, maximum vehicle speed, speed warnings, and traction control settings. 

You're a safe driver, and don't like the idea of imposed lock-outs. We get that. Our cars offer respite from the world around us, and nobody wants to be told what they can and can't do by their key. But think about families with teenage kids behind the wheel. Giving an inexperienced driver a key that won't let the car exceed 80 MPH, that'll warn them above a preset speed, and keep the stereo's output under control doesn't guarantee they'll come home safe every night, but it sounds like a pretty helpful safety net.

MyKey is certainly not a solution to reckless, distracted driving. Let's be honest. We've all been teenagers, and most of us have been in some pretty scary situations. But it should at least help minimize some of the most common ways kids get into accidents. All Fords with keyless push-button start include MyKey.

  • jhansonxi
    SYNC is the reason that Ford's . I've also met several people who have SYNC and they've all had problems with it freezing completely or controls getting stuck. These problems either require them to stop and turn off the engine (a reboot) or take the car to a dealer to get SYNC reset.

    This is shockingly bad code quality for an embedded system. I may get a Ford vehicle in the future but it won't have SYNC in it. I'll epoxy a tablet to the dash if I need entertainment that bad.
    Reply
  • jhansonxi
    SYNC is the reason that Ford's quality has dropped:
    http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/22/autos/ford_jd_power_initial_quality/index.htm

    P.S. What's up with the broken URL parsing?
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    boot benchmarks for a car :O
    What is the world coming to?
    Reply
  • SteelCity1981
    never had a problem with my SYNC in my ford.
    Reply
  • TheZander
    Drove a brand new rental Ford with all the Sync options. It was nice to be able to play music straight from my phone without taking it out of my pocket or plugging anything in. It was also nice when a call came in and a simple button push switched seamlessly from my music to the call, with good voice quality I might add. The information provided is useful and placed in areas with a focus on keeping your eyes in safer directions than some layouts, and the steering wheel button placement makes sense and also works well (for the most part) once you get used to it.

    However, there are little things here and there that show the system has tremendous potential, but lacks polish you expect when it's in your automobile. I own a reasonably new Ford (2006 Freestyle.) It's been an exceptional, sturdy, and reliable car for several years now with no mechanical issues to date. My dad owns an old Lincoln Navigator with over 370,000 miles on it, still with the original engine running. Fords have been pretty good to me and my family over the years. You put in the key, turn it, and the thing runs. You push the buttons on the door and the windows go up or down. Flip a switch and the heater comes on.

    You expect your automobiles to be like this. Ford Sync does not yet feel like this. "Do I push this button this way or that way?" "What word order do I need to use for this command?" "Why do I have to re-command Sync to start playing my phone's music via bluetooth every time I start my car rather than it just start automatically?" "Why does the system hang once in a while for no apparent reason?"

    It just doesn't yet feel like it's reliable and responsive. I was intrigued and impressed by Sync, but it needs more polish, fluidity, refinement, and most of all consistency and reliability for it to please the masses day after day, and THIS is why Sync is the single worst factor in Ford's otherwise good reliability ratings being lowered, as mentioned above.
    Reply
  • danwat1234
    I like my 1999 Honda Civic. Bullet proof reliable with 226K miles, simple and fast around corners (with an upgraded rear sway bar and good all season tires). It came with AM/FM radio and that's it. I have an FM transmitter to run anything else. All of this fancy technology ... my gaming laptop and my basic 10-key cell phone is enough. But it's great that this tech is available in inexpensive cars.
    I don't think that anybody would buy a new car just for this technology, at least I hope not. But new cars also come with stability, traction, ABS, EBD and panic brake help which is nice.
    My next car will be electric, maybe a 3-wheeled Zaptera. That's a reason to upgrade!
    Reply
  • tuanies
    9532860 said:
    SYNC is the reason that Ford's quality has dropped:
    http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/22/autos/ford_jd_power_initial_quality/index.htm

    P.S. What's up with the broken URL parsing?

    We touch on that in the conclusion. V2.0 of the software fixed a lot of the crashes and issues. We did not experience any crashes during the week we had the car.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    9532864 said:
    I like my 1999 Honda Civic. Bullet proof reliable with 226K miles, simple and fast around corners (with an upgraded rear sway bar and good all season tires). It came with AM/FM radio and that's it. I have an FM transmitter to run anything else. All of this fancy technology ... my gaming laptop and my basic 10-key cell phone is enough. But it's great that this tech is available in inexpensive cars.
    I don't think that anybody would buy a new car just for this technology, at least I hope not. But new cars also come with stability, traction, ABS, EBD and panic brake help which is nice.
    My next car will be electric, maybe a 3-wheeled Zaptera. That's a reason to upgrade!

    That sounds fancy, my daily is a '90 Miata with no power steering, manual windows, no side door guard beams and a first generation airbag. Its a ton of fun though.
    Reply
  • s3anister
    This is cool tech but I wish ford would have started doing this a year or two earlier than they did. I'd love to see an HDMI input instead of composite in and a higher-res screen for example.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    9532867 said:
    This is cool tech but I wish ford would have started doing this a year or two earlier than they did. I'd love to see an HDMI input instead of composite in and a higher-res screen for example.

    HDMI input would be nice. I think Honda is the only one that has HDMI input on the Honda Odyssey, but only on the $45k Elite model.
    Reply