Ford vehicles will soon have Amazon Alexa on board

The company's Sync-connected vehicles will also be able to link to Samsung's Gear S2 and S3 smartwatches.

We finally know when Ford will unleash the Alexa integration it promised almost exactly a year ago. The automaker has announced it will roll out the feature in two phases, with the first one going live later this month. Folks who own Ford vehicles with the company's Sync 3 entertainment system, starting with the Focus Electric, Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi, will be able to control their cars from home sometime this January. They'll be able to start or stop their car engines, unlock their doors and check their fuel levels simply by issuing commands through Amazon's Echo, Echo Dot and Tap speakers.

They'll eventually be able to ask Alexa to find establishments, add items to their grocery lists, play music, check news and read audiobooks. Plus, they'll be able to adjust their house's thermostat, control its lights and even its security system from inside their cars. However, they'll have to wait for the second phase of the rollout (scheduled for sometime this summer) to access all those neat features.

In addition, Ford is adding built-in WiFi-hotspot capability to Sync connect this fall on select 2018 models. The LTE hotspot will be powered by AT&T and will be able to support up to 10 devices at a time. Finally, Samsung Gear S2 and S3 owners will be able to connect their smartwatches to Ford's Sync system starting this spring. The feature will give them an easy way to log parking spots and set audio alerts to make sure they don't fall asleep at the wheel.

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