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.