Having proven its mettle in the automotive industry with the Ford Sync in-car systems, which allow for everything from voice-activated music to Bluetooth-radio integration, Microsoft has been able to attract a major Asian automaker to its onboard computer systems as well. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it had entered into long-term agreement with the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group to develop its next generation of in-car entertainment.
Although details were sparse, the first Microsoft-powered system in a Hyundai or Kia will appear stateside in 2010. Microsoft says it will provide “voice-controlled connectivity between mobile devices,” which will likely make it similar in function to the existing Ford Sync. Later devices will venture into multimedia and navigation, built on an updateable PC-like platform.
“The advanced capabilities, flexibility and low price point make the Microsoft Auto software platform an attractive solution for us,” said Hyun Soon Lee, president and chief technology officer of HKAG, in a statement. Although the company hasn’t publicly speculated about what the systems will cost to equip, Ford offers the Sync for only $395, a relative bargain compared to what other automakers charge for similar features.
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