As you can see from the video above (apologies on the size — we never know how big these things can get) we had the opportunity last week to head down to the super-secret FoMoCo testing and development lab to get an exclusive hands-on with Ford's new infotainment hotness, Sync. The system, created through a joint effort between FoMoCo and the evil geniuses in Redmond will, if you listen to FoMoCo Prez of the Americas, Mark Fields, "revolutionize the automotive industry." While we're not sure we'd go that far, we will say the system is definitely the most robust system we've yet seen for connecting your personal audio and communication devices to your car for in-auto infotainment. The system's just that good.

Sync features two main methods of connection and three bundled applications. On an integration level, it's got a software-upgradeable bluetooth system and a USB connection. The USB connection, in and of itself is pretty amazing — allowing you to connect any mass storage device via a USB cable to a 400 MHz system plus 256 MB of on-board flash RAM. But unlike systems which run the mp3's (or in the case of the Sync system, any unprotected music files) off of an on-board hard drive (think Chrysler's MyGig system), Sync lets you play them off of the drive itself — no muss, no fuss. That means whether you've got an iPod, a Zune or whatever — as long as you've got a USB cable, you're golden. But that's not the only way you can get music onto your audio system — the bluetooth system will let you do it as well. And not only does it let you stream mp3's off of your phone — it'll let you play internet radio via any device with Windows Media Player. But wait, wait — there's more.

You see, there are already a few systems out there with head unit integration — and don't get me wrong, that's cool — in and of itself, that's almost like the "Holy Grail" for iPod audiophiles with auto-integration on the mind. However, there's something cool that sets Sync apart. Sync has one hell of an advanced voice recognition system — letting the driver play songs simply by depressing a voice activation button located on the steering wheel and speaking aloud the artist, album, genre — or even the song title. And, as you can see from the above video, it actually works. But this ain't the only thing it can do — check back in a few hours and we'll bring you the second part — phone and communication device integration.

[Sync My Ride]

Related:
Ford And Microsoft Get In "Sync" To Offer Wireless Internet In Your Car [internal]