Hands on with Microsoft / Ford Sync

[intro]It talks to your mobile and iPod, and its coming to a Mondeo near you very soon. Get ready for Sync. [/intro] We managed a quick play with th

[intro]It talks to your mobile and iPod, and its coming to a Mondeo near you very soon. Get ready for Sync. [/intro]

We managed a quick play with the new Sync service, announced at the Bill Gates CES keynote last night. On paper, the Microsoft / Ford system is a dream - in one go, it breaks down the barrier between the kit in your pocket and your car's audio system.

Using the power of Bluetooth, it syncs with the contacts on your Bluetooth mobile every time you jump behind the wheel. Making a call is then a matter of pressing a button, and giving your command - in our case 'Place call - Stuff Towers'. It works, too, taking just a few seconds to find the contact and begin dialing.

There are over 100 Bluetooth mobiles that play nicely with Sync today, and Microsoft is planning to issue regular updates, which can transfer from your PC to your in-car Sync system via a USB stick.

It will also read just about any MP3 player or drive you attach to it, including the Zune and iPod. Again, you choose your track or artist by hitting a button and barking your order. Since our iPod was safely back at the hotel, we had to endure the Microsoft demonstrators Beyonce collection. Again, the voice commands worked: it even managed names that usually throw voice recognition system, such as U2.