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New Ford Sync App Tells Best Time to Travel

Ford is continuing its march to totally run your life through its SYNC system that in-car connectivity system that allows you to make hands-free calls and control your music and other functions with simple voice commands. The system can now tell you the best time to hit the road through a new mobile app for Apple iPhone, Apple iPad and Android-based devices, with BlackBerry smartphones coming soon.

What Ford is succeeding in doing is tethering owners to their Fords and Lincolns. As long as it creates developing apps that make owners’ lives easier (and more interesting), owners are going to stick with the brand. People are averse to switching a technology they are familiar with, especially as they get older.

According to Ford, owners of 2010 and 2011 Ford SYNC-equipped vehicles that are Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI)-capable can now download a free smartphone app designed to help get them where they need to go with less hassle. The most intriguing thing is it has traffic forecasts that predict how travel times are expected to change over time, based on analysis of current traffic conditions, day of the week, season, holidays and related days, current and forecast weather, accidents and road construction, as well as other unique local events such as school schedules, sports games and concerts.

Those last three are huge. How many times have you turned a corner only to find yourself stuck behind a school bus? Or, you head into an urban area only to get stuck in massive pre-concert traffic? Have you ever seen the traffic around a Miami Heat home game?

OK, so there is one feature that some may find less than desirable. Specific to SYNC Destinations is a 5 mph lockout feature, which automatically halts the app from running on a smartphone once it is detected to be traveling in excess of 5 mph, which Ford says helps drivers stay focused on the task of driving. But what if you hand the phone to your navigator? It needs some kind of override that absolves Ford of all legal responsibility if you drive into a bridge abutment.

Ford, Lincoln and Mercury (the few of you still around) owners of 2010 and 2011 SYNC-equipped, TDI-capable vehicles can download the SYNC Destinations app for free from the Apple App Store and Android Market. To activate it, users enter their login credentials. Once those credentials are submitted, the app confirms the user’s TDI subscription status, and is then unlocked and ready for use.