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By | Bill Ray 6th May 2008 14:55

Hyundai and Kia's latest pitch to US drivers - Windows

Microsoft's exclusive with Ford finishes soon

Microsoft has signed deals with Hyundai and Kia to supply voice recognition kit for cars sold in the USA, just as soon as its exclusive deal with Ford runs out in November.

The system is called Sync, and uses an ARM-based system running Windows Mobile for Automotive with voice recognition provided by Nuance. It allows drivers to talk to various forms of media player and/or mobile phone, and support for new devices can be uploaded as and when the customer wants to use them.

The system has its own website, which reports that two new features, Vehicle Health Reports and 911 Assist, are to be launched at around the same time.

Right now the system is only available in the US on Ford motors, sometimes bundled but available as an option on the Focus and Fusion. That option is taken up by around 50 per cent of buyers, despite costing around $400.

Outside the USA, Sync is used in cars from Fiat, thanks to a previous exclusive deal, and is used for its Blue&Me product which also incorporates GPS functionality.

It's not clear what functions Hyundia and Kia will be integrating with the system. It's early days, but Microsoft has always been about supplying the platform and allowing manufacturers to decide on the features so those decisions will likely vary between manufacturers and models. ®

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