There was a surprise remote appearance by Bill Gates at the Detroit motor show today. The Microsoft CEO was part of Ford's press conference at the Cobo Centre in Detroit, and played a part in announcing new computer software made specifically for cars by Microsoft. The new system is called Sync, has been developed in cooperation with Ford, and was fully unveiled today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Sync can link all sorts of devices – your mobile phone, MP3 player, Camera or USB storage device - into your car's electronic system via wireless technology. That will allow you to control all of those devices using your car's menu system, similarly to how you might control your Bluetooth mobile phone via buttons on your steering wheel right now. This will turn your car into a hub for all your mobile devices; via Sync, for example, you might be able to email a photo on your digital camera to a friend using your mobile phone – but all without touching either device.
Ford has exclusive rights to the system until end of 2008, according to Ford's president of the Americas, Mark Fields. It will be added to options lists during this year, first on the US model Focus and the Five-hundred (see gallery), and then on 10 further Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models.
"We're going to rollout Sync affordably and quickly and the market potential is enormous," added Fields.