With Microsoft having injected itself into almost all aspects of our daily lives -- from work to play to communication -- it only makes sense that the software giant would try to own those rare stretches of time when we're not using a Windows product or playing on our Xbox. The most obvious contender for the firm's next conquest are those automobiles we tend to spend so much time in, and so Microsoft decided to team up with Ford last year to develop a standardized in-car infotainment platform called Sync. As with most of the company's products, there's not a ton of innovation here -- except for maybe the Zune compatibility -- but what it will probably succeed in doing is bringing higher-end features like navigation and Bluetooth calling to a more mainstream audience. We got to spend a little time with a (non-moving) Sync-equipped Ford Edge at last night's DigitalLife kick-off event, and what surprised us most was not the functionality, but rather the complete lack of Microsoft-branding on any of the screens. No Start menu, no Windows logo, no Clippy -- no nothing. Not that we're complaining: we just would have liked to be at that meeting where Detroit reminded Redmond whose name was on the vehicle. Check out the gallery below for some more pics, and then head over to Autoblog for even more in-depth Sync action along with a video walkthrough....

Gallery | 7 Photos

Hands-on with the Ford Sync infotainment platform

Engadget HD Podcast 051 - 09.26.2007