Ford brings Bluetooth text message readouts to more SYNC vehicles

Got a SYNC-tastic Ford from 2011 onwards? Then you'll find that the latest update (G1 V3.2.2) to the dash software will let you listen to your smartphone's incoming emails and SMS messages via the car's audio system, thanks to the inclusion of Bluetooth MAP (Message Access Profile). We've already seen the tech running in BMW's iDrive dash system and in MyFord Touch-equipped cars too, so the news here is just a wider roll-out to a bigger range of vehicles -- but we'll welcome anything that keeps more eyes on the prize. Read the full PR after the break and then enter your VIN at the More Coverage link below to see if you're eligible.

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New SYNC Software Update Adds Bluetooth MAP Standard; Ford Poised to Give More Drivers Safer Texting Alternatives

- Latest Ford SYNC® software updates will give owners of select SYNC Generation 1-equipped 2011 and 2012 vehicles access to the emerging Bluetooth® standard – Message Access Profile (MAP) – so SYNC can stream and read text messages aloud from compatible smartphones

- Ford elected to voluntarily adopt MAP in an aggressive effort to improve the number of phones that will work with the hands-free text message readback feature of SYNC

- Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) sees growing MAP adoption among leading cell phone manufacturers

DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 18, 2011 – Ford has released its latest free SYNC® software update, G1 V3.2.2, to give more SYNC users the ability to have text messages read aloud to them while driving.

Tailored for owners of select SYNC-equipped 2011 and early-release 2012 vehicles, the update includes the emerging Message Access Profile (MAP) Bluetooth® standard, which is custom-made for the automotive hands-free environment and outlines a set of features and procedures used to exchange email, SMS and MMS between devices – in this case SYNC and the smartphone.

Last year, Ford announced it was voluntarily integrating MAP into SYNC for all 2011 MyFord Touch®-equipped vehicles and is now extending the capability to the broader SYNC user community – with thousands of 2011 and 2012 vehicles equipped with the first generation SYNC system.

A limited population of phones has the capability to work with the text message readback feature of SYNC," said Mark Porter, supervisor of SYNC Product Development. "With our initial adoption of MAP for our latest generation of SYNC and our recent efforts to integrate it into our previous variations of the system, we hope we are setting an example that encourages more collaboration between Ford, the phonemakers and the wireless industry to help drivers find smarter alternatives to hand-held texting while on the road."

According to Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), MAP adoption by mobile device manufacturers is still in its infancy but the growth needle is starting to quiver.

Texting is becoming a ubiquitous part of our day, so it stands to reason the remote message access profile is an essential addition for handsets, automobiles, headsets and aftermarket car kits," said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director Bluetooth SIG. "The Bluetooth MAP standard gives users the ability to simply and smartly manage incoming text messages from their vehicle while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. We are seeing significant uptake in MAP adoption among phonemakers, in particular with recent qualifications from manufacturers such as HTC, RIM, Samsung and LG."

Ready for an update
Since SYNC launched in 2007, Ford has offered several significant and simple software-based updates. And owners are taking advantage, with software downloads recorded on ranging up to nearly 14,000 each month in 2011.

Major SYNC updates that have been released to date include:
- G1 V2.0 – availability of 911 Assist™ and Vehicle Health Report for 2008 SYNC-equipped vehicles (dealership installation required) (December 2008)
- G1 V3.0/V3.1 – availability of SYNC Services for Traffic, Directions and Information services for 2010 SYNC-equipped vehicles (June 2009)
- G1 V3.2 – improved voice command structure, constant display of turn-by-turn directions and GPS coordinates for 911 Assist for 2011 SYNC-equipped vehicles (April 2010)
- G1 V4.0 – AppLink™ software application for hands-free voice control of smartphone apps for the 2011 Ford Fiesta only (December 2010)
- G1 V3.2.2 (non-AppLink)/V4.0.2 (AppLink-equipped) – increased MAP support for select 2011 and early-release 2012 SYNC-equipped vehicles with AppLink such as Ford Mustang (May 2011)

Ford owners interested in finding out if their SYNC-equipped vehicle is eligible for any of the available SYNC updates can visit and enter their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).