The New and Improved Ford MyTouch

Ford began by integrating the Microsoft Sync system into their cars, but more recently they have added Ford MyTouch.  Now they are working to improve the experience on the touch-panel and they unveiled this recently at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  They did this be cleaning up the interface, while not making any major changes to it.

The new, simpler interface is more of an upgrade than a real change.  For instance, the entertainment screen is simpler, faster, and more intuitive.  The fonts themselves are easier to read because of the larger, and bolder text that is displayed.  The maps, too, are improved with a better look and a 3D-type view that seems more realistic.

In fact, all four corners of the traditional Ford MyTouch square have been improved, but the changes are subtle.  The voice recognition and the backend (behind-the-scenes) have been improved for better responsiveness.  You can get all of the details, plus a live demo, in the video below.  You can check it out in person at a Ford dealer as well

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine.

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iOnRoad Warns Drivers of Danger

As well as being a really bad pun, iOnRoad is an augmented reality app that helps car drivers become safer drivers. Courtney gets into the fast lane to find out more about this app which was awarded a CES Innovation Honoree prize.

Available for Android smartphones now and the iPhone soon, the app uses the smartphone’s camera, GPS and accelerometer to provide warnings and guidance to car drivers as they drive. By looking at the white lines, the car in front and correlating data from the GPS and accelerometer, the app can warn about lane departures, tailgating and speeding. The iOnRoad includes a couple of other features, including reading text messages and a car locator.

Obviously the phone has to be mounted on the dash with a view to the front of the car, but you can test the app using the video here. The app is currently free with a charge of $9.99 to be introduced in the future.

Interview by Courtney Wallin of SDR News.

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Built To Tylt Designs for Smartphones

Built to Tylt logoAt CES‘s Digital Experience, Andy talks with Built To Tylt about their funky designs for smartphones and other portable gadgets. Check their website as these guys have got some great stuff.

The Tylt Band is a smartphone car charger made of a colourful flat silicon rubber cable that is nearly impossible tangle. Micro-USB and Apple connectors are available there’s an extra standard USB socket near the base of the cable for plugging in another device.

Tylt also have two portable battery packs, the Zumo and the PowerPlant, with 1500 mAh and 5,200 mAh batteries respectively. The Zumo is intended for the emergency smartphone charging, whereas the larger PowerPlant can part charge a tablet or recharge a smartphone several times.

Finally, if you are an iPhone owner, you might be interested in Tylt’s new iPhone cases, one of which comes with a lens cover to protect the camera and another that has a built-in kickstand (kickband?) to angle the iPhone for movie watching.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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inCarBite iPad and Kindle Fire Car Mount

inCarBite iPad car mountThese days, in-car DVD players are old hat – a tablet is where it’s at. Andy talks to Linda at inCarBite on how their car mount can keep up with the Joneses.

The inCarBite tablet mounting system is available for the Apple iPad 1 & 2 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which is gaining in popularity as an entertainment device. The tablet mount fixes onto the headrest stems of the front seats using a neat clamp, which is detachable from the mount itself to make fitting easier. Power is provided from the car’s cigarette lighter socket so the tablet is charged while it’s in the mount.

And if that’s not enough, there’s a matching home dock with surround sound which takes the same mount so the device can be easily switched between the living room, kitchen and car.

It’s available now for the iPad from $79.99 to $159.99 depending on accessories. The Kindle Fire version is coming soon.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Ford and Gogo Add to Inflight Entertainment

Ford logoTravelling by air can be pretty dull – you’re jammed into a metal tube with nowhere to go even if you could get out of your seat. Inflight entertainment has evolved from one or two screens for the whole cabin to multichannel personal media players in seat headrests, which certainly helps to alleviate the boredom. More recently and largely responding to the requests of business travellers, more and more flights now have Wi-Fi, bringing the Internet to your foldaway table, albeit usually at a price.

Gogo LogoIf you are lucky enough to be on a plane equipped with Gogo‘s inflight Wi-Fi connectivity, Ford has teamed up with Gogo to offer access to Ford’s Mustang Customizer and free access to Facebook for the rest of the flight. The Customizer is a notch above the usual car modelling websites where you can only change the colour of the paint and the interior trim. Starting out with Mustang V6, GT, Boss 302 or Shelby GT500, the Customizer lets you choose the exterior before tweaking under the hood and then placing the car in one of three backgrounds – dragway, cityscape or drive-in restaurant. Apparently there are over 78,791,049,216,000 combinations of vehicle to dream up.

Once you’ve got the car of your dreams, the picture can be downloaded as a background or posted to Facebook and entered into contests to see who has the best car. If you’ve cash to match, you can get a .pdf pricing out the components you’ve chosen.

We are really excited to give Gogo users a chance to customize their very own Mustang while in flight,” added Brian McClary, emerging and social media specialist at Ford. “The Mustang Customizer has proven to be a great way for users to create their own Mustang and provides an interactive and immersive experience.

Definitely of interest to bored petrol heads, small boys and Facebook junkies. The special promotion starts 21 October, 2011 and ends 18 November, 2011

Ford Shows Off V2V Car Tech

Today, through both Cnet and Engadget, we got a look ahead at Ford’s vision of the future of the automobile.  The “V2V” monicker refers to “vehicle to vehicle” and it’s a new way for cars to communicate with each other while driving down the road.

A video, produced by Ford, has surfaced that gives a nice walk-through of the technology involved.  As you can probably guess, before the rep explains it, it is really just basic cell phone technology being used here.  The cars can let other vehicles in the area know of slowing or stopping traffic, lane changes, stop sign and red-light runners and a host of other things.

The video is demonstrated with both animation and real, live footage in the video below.  You will also get a brief, but passable, explanation from some of Ford’s representatives about what it is capable of and how it works.

Like much of car-automation technology, a lot of this is probably years in the future.  But, we are starting to see a lot more similar technology creeping into today’s showroom models.  Enough to say I am hopeful that this is closer than we may think.

Ford Introduces The Ford Focus Electric

Sean from Ford introduces the all-electric version of the Ford Focus, which is set to be launched in 19 markets in late 2011. This is simply a remarkable vehicle. Esby takes you deep into the heart of the car to get a full rundown of all the features inside and out.  With the need in my family growing for an additional vehicle I could see the green Electric Ford Focus sitting in the driveway.

Interview by Esbjorn Larsen of MrNetCast.com.

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Scosche Industries’ Great Gadgets

Todd chats to Ted Lopez, Interface Product Manager for  Scosche Industries on their long-term association with the motor (auto) industry and their latest award-winning products.

Scosche have been in business for over 30 years starting out on dash-mounted entertainment systems, which 30 years ago was probably just a radio and a cassette player. These days Scosche still has a strong business with in-car entertainment but more recently has expanded into Bluetooth systems and accessories for the iPhone and iPod. Ted gives Todd a drive-by of their latest products, all of which have won innovation awards at CES or other major shows.

The FreedomMIC is a lapel-mounted Bluetooth microphone suitable for video interview work. Available in Spring – price not known.

The FlipSYNC II keychain are small charge’n’sync cables that clip up into a keyfob. Two models, one for Apple devices, the other micro- and mini-USB. Never leave home without them. Available now for $19.99.

The MotorMOUTH II (shown above) is a Bluetooth hands-free kit and A2DP audio streaming device that plugs straight into the 3.5 mm jack on the car dash. I need one of these – I currently use a Jabra BT3030 for streaming audio to my car stereo but if I have to take a phone call, the microphone is poor. Available now for $79.99.

Finally, the MyTREK is an armband fitness trainer with a complementary iPhone app. No surprise there. Available Spring – price not known.

All innovation award winners so check them out.
Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central

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Oxygen Audio O Car Integrated Head Unit for iPhone

Andy sounds out French auto audiophiles Oxygen Audio and their award-winning O Car integrated head unit for the iPhone. It’s totally awesome – the iPhone mounts into the head unit of the car stereo and then acts as the controller for all the audio functions, including playing from iTunes.  There’s even an RDS tuner built into the unit for the radio. Even better, the iPhone can move away from the head unit on a swivel and can be used as normal, running any apps that you want – GPS, Pandora, whatever. Of course, there’s full Bluetooth integration. Absolutely brilliant. Check out the pictures below and you’ll get the idea. Yeah, you want one.

Available now in France and will be shipping very shortly in the USA for around $300. See, I told you…you want one.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News.

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Mobeo iMovee Brings Mobile TV to Smart Phones & Tablets

iMovee Mobeo (www.i-movee.com/mobeo1.html) brings mobile TV to smart phones and tablets. iMovee Corporation launches the entire range of Mobile TV products including SKY TV (USB Dongle), Mobidik (WiFi Dongle for Iphone, Ipod, Blackberry, PC, MAC etc), Telly MOBO (7″/9″ Portable DVD & TV), Touch Telly Series (Media Player & Portable TV 4.3″ ,4.7″, 7″), Telly NAV (portable Navigation Device with ATSC MH) and CAR Telly (Automotive Set top box). iMovee is also launching various ATSC MH & T DMB modules for manufacturers to readily integrate to their consumer devices and thus reducing the time to market.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of Slash Dot Review News and RV News Network — RVNN.TV

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