Ford's Sync Destinations App Plans Your Route Before You Get In The Car

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Smartphone integration with car-bound OSes is going to be a hot thing next year, and of course Ford’s Sync system is among the major players. Just a week ago they showed off AppLink, which allows a driver to control certain apps (Pandora, a news stream app, and a Twitter app) from the in-car touchscreen. And now you’ve got stuff going the other way: the Sync Destinations app lets you set up a route or destination while waiting for your coffee, then have it load automatically when you get in the car.

It’s coming out for iOS and Android, and will soon be on Blackberry. Personally I’m waiting on some sweet Google Navigation integration, but I’m guessing the Goog thinks it’s not solid enough at the moment to be the only solution in a car. This app looks a bit… well, 2006 GPS unit chic, but letting your data travel with you like this is a good step.

The app will be free, and will work with any car equipped with Ford’s Sync TDI system.

Here’s the whole press release, for deets:

NEW FORD SYNC DESTINATIONS APP OFFERS ‘ON THE GO’ NAVIGATION; PREDICTS BEST DEPARTURE TIMES

• SYNC® Destinations is a free smartphone app that gives SYNC Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI) users mobile access to search for and save destinations to their cloud-based SYNC Services account for easy access when back in the car

• App includes Predictive Traffic, powered by Ford’s best-in-class traffic information supplier INRIX, providing users with recommended departure time, travel time and ETA based on current and expected traffic conditions along their route

• Free SYNC Destinations app is available today for Apple iPhone, Apple iPad and Android-based devices and can be downloaded through the Apple App Store and Android Market

• SYNC Destinations is available to owners of 2010-2011 SYNC-equipped, TDI-capable vehicles who have a registered and active TDI services account on http://www.syncmyride.com

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 29, 2010 – Owners of 2010 and 2011 Ford SYNC-equipped vehicles that are Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI)-capable can now download a free smartphone app designed to help get them where they need to go with less hassle.

Ford launched the SYNC Destinations mobile app today for Apple iPhone, Apple iPad and Android-based devices, with BlackBerry smartphones coming soon. Available at no cost, the app gives users of TDI services mobile access to a host of navigation and traffic information specifically designed to make any trip easier.

“SYNC Destinations leverages the power of your smartphone to manage a user’s SYNC Services account and to plan ahead, sending destination locations to your car, and knowing what’s happening on the road ahead of you before you even get behind the wheel,” said Dave Gersabeck, SYNC TDI product manager.

With the SYNC Destinations app, TDI users have an exclusive on-the-go link to their cloud-based SYNC Services account on http://www.syncmyride.com, where they can add, save and manage “Saved Points” or addresses. A maximum of 25 Saved Points can be accessed through the app. Locations added via SYNC Destinations are immediately accessible through SYNC Services once in the vehicle, with turn-by-turn directions delivered to the car only a few simple voice commands away.

“With SYNC Destinations, you can be standing in line for a coffee, making impromptu plans with a friend or sitting at the ballgame, and conveniently add a new address to your Saved Points – without ever stopping to log into your account at a personal computer,” adds Gersabeck.

With SYNC Destinations, SYNC TDI users can also better plan the when and where of their commutes, accessing real-time traffic information, reliable traffic forecasts and other time-saving features powered by INRIX, a leading provider of traffic information and driver services. Key benefits include:

• Traffic maps with real-time speed, accident and incident information for all highways, interstates, arterials and city streets in 126 metropolitan areas across North America

• Reliable traffic forecasts that predict how travel times are expected to change over time, based on sophisticated analysis of current traffic conditions, day of the week, season, holidays and related days, current and forecast weather, accidents and road construction, as well as other unique local events such as school schedules, sports games and concerts

• Fastest routes based on current and expected traffic conditions as well as recommended departure times, expected travel times and ETAs that make navigating to daily destinations, whether across town or cross-country, easier than ever

• Easy look-up of addresses for new destinations through local business search and address book integration

“SYNC Destinations is an easy-to-use mobile tool that gives busy, on-the-go SYNC users the flexibility to search and save locations for quick access in the car, plus, with features such as predictive traffic, users can take some of the guesswork out of their daily trips by preplanning the best estimated time of departure to get around town quickly and easily,” said Gersabeck.

Also specific to SYNC Destinations is a 5 mph lockout feature, which automatically halts the app from running on a smartphone once it is detected to be traveling in excess of 5 mph, helping drivers stay focused on the task of driving.

Ford, Lincoln and Mercury owners of 2010 and 2011 SYNC-equipped, TDI-capable vehicles can download the SYNC Destinations app for free from the Apple App Store and Android Market. To activate it, the user has to enter his or her http://www.syncmyride.com login credentials. Once those credentials are submitted, the app confirms the user’s TDI subscription status, and is then unlocked and ready for use.

Ford will feature demos of SYNC Destinations at the Pepcom Digital Experience media event in Las Vegas on Jan. 5, 2011, and then at the 2011 International CES consumer technology trade show in Las Vegas between Jan. 6 and Jan. 9, 2011.

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