It has been almost 3 years since Ford and Microsoft announced the release of the in-car entertainment system known as SYNC in Ford Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. This system incorporates as many features as a swiss-army knife, and perhaps that is why it can be confusing to understand. Perhaps thinking of it more as a standard or certification that a vehicle has certain components will help. I will outline some of the components here:
Connections: Bluetooth (for cell phones), USB 2.0 (for MP3 players)
Interfaces: Voice-commands, Car Stereo Interface, Steering Wheel Controls
In-vehicle Computer: ARM 11 Processor, 256MB of RAM, 2GBFlash Memory running Microsoft Auto Operating System
Features: Turn-by-turn directions, Integration of controls and audio for mobile devices, Traffic alerts, etc. The features are rapidly expanding.
In effect, Ford is putting a computer in your car that is as upgradeable and flexible as the one in your home. The added benefit of this kind of system is that applications can be improved regularly.
I will leave you with a youtube video that quickly explains two of the main features of SYNC without all the forward-looking statements that usually turn consumers off to products such as this.