If there’s one automaker that’s gone nuts for gadgets, it’s Ford. The company that brought us the world’s best in-car infotainment system with Sync is now the first car company to offer iTunes song tagging.
The system makes it a snap to keep up with new music by allowing you to tag a song you hear on the radio and then download the song or album from the iTunes store. The feature will be available in 2010 models with the optional HD radio.
Ford’s packing its cars with gadgets. It recently announced it was adding Internet access to Sync, and its 911 assist system is going head-to-head with General Motors’ OnStar. It’s also working with students to bring cloud computing to Sync, and it made the Fiesta the focus of an aggressive social media marketing campaign.
It’s part of a push to attract tech-savvy 20-something buyers, the so-called Millennials who have propelled much of Sync’s success. Millennials will make up 28 percent of the driving population next year, a nine-point increase from 2004. Ford thinks offering features like iTunes song tagging will put a lot of them behind the wheel of a Ford.
For the uninitiated, HD radio is a free digital broadcast that offers FM reception with nearly CD-like quality. It offers other nifty features as well, including extra FM channels, called HD2/HD3, and on-screen “program service data” that includes things like the song title and artist’s name.
iTunes tagging lets you “tag” a song you like and then download it from the iTunes store through Sync. Ford says it couldn’t be easier — simply push the “Tag” button” on the radio and the information is stored in radio’s memory. The system will store as many as 100 songs. To retrieve the list, simply plug in your iPod.
When the iPod syncs to iTunes, a playlist of tagged songs appears. One hundred songs is a lot to remember, so if you aren’t sure what that track is or whether you really want to buy it, you can preview it. Once you know what you want, you can download them from the iTunes store.
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