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Leading up to the CES 2010 show Ford has been in the news repeatedly with a range of planned extensions on its SYNC solution:

  • In-car Wi-Fi based on a cellular USB modem on SYNC 2.0

  • Mobile Applications Sync store and open APIs for trusted developer partners

  • iTunes Music tagging for later purchase on a factory-installedHD radio receiver

  • SyncMyPhone to synchronize address books and contact lists residing on a home computer

Unconfirmed rumors also hint at a partnership with Pandora for music streaming. All these innovations follow the same successful SYNC principle: allow users leveraging devices they already own at no additional cost. Ford increasingly looks like becoming the Apple of the automotive OEMs. This all contributes to a much-anticipated CES keynote from Fords Mulally.

At CES Microsoft will announce the long rumored UVO telematics service on Kia vehicles, its second OEM customer in the US. Like Fords Sync it will be based on the Windows Embedded Auto software platform. This was made possible by the exclusivity granted to Ford in the US to use Microsoft software expiring in 2008. Hyundai is expected to be the next brand to launch Microsoft-based telematics.

And telematics news is not just limited to the US. The first GM vehicle equipped with Onstar telematics featuring 14 different services shipped in China on December 20th, allowing GM to keep to its end of 2009 deadline. Ford has announced hybrid mobile navigation in Europe combining handset-based navigation and an embedded screen. And Microsoft recently referred to India as on of the next developing regions to see a SYNC-like offering in the coming years.