My Touch: The Skinny On Ford’s Big, Fat Driving Distraction

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From CES:

Ford unveiled its brand new plan to go-go-gadget your car, complete with a voice-activated dashboard, USB ports, an 8-in. touchscreen and thumb-wheel controls. (Basically, it’s a giant iPhone with wheels.)

The My Ford Touch system will replace the traditional car dashboard with two 4.2-in. color LCD screens that flank the speedometer and an 8-in. touchscreen LCD that sits in the center console. To control both screens (phone, navigation, sound and climate), drivers will operate the two five-way switches on both sides of the steering wheel. Different colors will separate the controls: Red for sound, green for navigation, blue for climate control and orange for the phone.

The system will operate on Microsoft’s in-car communications tech Sync, which Ford is programming to read incoming texts aloud to the driver. This will come in handy if you download the Twitter Open Beak app for Sync. (Yes, Twitter. In Your Car.) Necessary? Absolutely not. But, we have to admit, it is impressive.

(More on Techland: I Spent The Day At Ford And Almost Puked)

Ford also partnered with MapQuest to allow drivers to send MapQuest maps straight to their car from the computer. This and other apps operate via voice command, so if you’re looking for the broadcast of a game, you can just tell the Sirius app to look for it.

As for Wi-Fi, Ford developed its own browser that (thankfully) only works when the car is in park. Use a USB port (there are two) to plug in a keyboard and you’re all set.

My Ford will be available later this year on the Lincoln MKX, Ford Edge and Ford Focus and will be in 80 percent of its vehicles by 2015. The Sync system is already programmed into 70 percent of new Fords, but the My Ford Touch will come standard on higher-end models while a basic version, dubbed simply “My Ford,” will be available on other vehicles.

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