Microsoft SYNC phone integration

Surprise surprise. Microsoft SYNC doesn’t suck. It is far from perfect, but it is one of my favorite Fusion features.

It did not start out that way. I became acquainted with SYNC when the car salesman tried to show me how easy it is to sync with my Bluetooth equipped phone. When he resorted to the manual, I politely steered the conversation elsewhere. When he got busy filling out paperwork, I skimmed the 78 page manual and paired my iPhone and uploaded all my contacts.

Then I tried to use the voice activated calling feature. “Call Jennifer Simerson,” I would say. And it would pick some other person from my 548 contacts and start calling them. Grrrrrrr. Finally I figured out that the sync process was a bit retarded. Microsoft’s NIH syndrome keeps them using reference implementations of  standards like OBEX and SyncML. They write their own, get it badly wrong, make some fixes, and eventually arrive at something usable. They weren’t there yet when my car left the factory.

After calling the wrong party a couple dozen times, I finally deduced that when it imported my contacts, it mapped them all last name first. And it also included middle names. If a contact had a middle name, I could not call them without saying their middle name in the voice command. After a few days, I figured out how to call home, “Call Simerson R**** Jennifer.” 

Then I discovered the version 1.2 update. Duh, it’s from Microsoft. Of course. It needs an update! I downloaded the update and installed it but it didn’t help. Days later, insight struck. It’s from Microsoft. You can’t just install it the update. You also have to reboot! So I performed a “Master Reset” of the SYNC system. Then I re-paired my phone to it and had it sync all my contacts. Voila! All my contacts synced properly. I can call home by saying, “Call Jennifer Simerson.” 

The handsfree functionality works superbly. Talking while driving is now fun and much safer. I predict that in another decade, every car will have this functionality. My kids will be hard pressed to remember a car that didn’t have phone integration built-in.

SYNC also supports text messaging via Bluetooth, but it doesn’t work with the iPhone. Yet.

8 Replies to “Microsoft SYNC phone integration”

  1. You have been posting alot about the ford fusion, how about posting some pictures of it so we can see what it looks like.

  2. I have been having difficulty pairing my Samsung M520 with my 08 Sable and use the voice activated calling. It sounds like you had the same problem. Unfortunately I’m technically challenged. Do you have a “easy to explain” solution for sad people like me?! Really appreciate any help. Val

  3. Hi Valerie,
    Go tell the technical computer whiz you know that the firmware in your car needs an upgrade. He needs a USB thumb drive and the software available at That’s all you’ll need to tell him. If he’s reluctant to try, invite him over for dinner and tell him to bring his laptop. Tell him about it after he get’s there. 🙂

  4. I was on-line with sync chat for a couple of hours last night trying to solve my problem. He had me download the 1.2 update then transfer that to my car-did all that – message read- installation successful- then a voice came on saying there wasn’t enough space for this file-lovely! Still not working. I am feeling very frustrated and I’m thinking I need to just bring the car back to the dealer because I’m thinking it’s a problem with the system. I tried your idea of saying the last name first to see if that helped-no luck. Thanks for listening to my frustration

  5. You might try rebooting it, and then trying the upgrade again. To reboot it, you need to find the fuse for it (under the hood, in a fusebox) and pull the fuse for a minute.

  6. I have a Samsung SCH-R430 that I can NOT get to work with my Sync system. My phone shows connected to the sync system – but it seems that the sync system will NOT connect with my phone. Do you have any suggestions for me to try. PLEASE HELP. I have had my 2009 Ford Flex for a month now and would love to try this feature. Also my husband has a Blackberry, and it does work with the Sync system, however when we try use the text feature it states this system is not supported? Is it because of the phone he is using, or is there something we need to do in order to activate this feature. Please help the technically challenged couple!!!!

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