Ford Enables Voice Control of NPR

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, Ford Motor Co. introduced a new application for its SYNC in-car infotainment system that lets drivers access National Public Radio stations by voice.

"NPR is now taking advantage of the advanced smartphone control interface that we've built into SYNC AppLink to enable a wider range of information and entertainment options for our customers," said Doug VanDagens, global director of connected services at Ford Motor Co., in a statement. "With AppLink, drivers can manage smartphones through the in-car audio system or via the power of voice while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road."

"NPR has been a trusted companion to drivers for more than 40 years, and we are thrilled to be the first major news organization to release our own in-car app," said NPR President and CEO Gary Knell . "We are helping to usher in a new era of radio listening by offering today's and tomorrow's listeners another way to connect with great news, public affairs, and music content from NPR and hundreds of public radio stations."

Ford and NPR teamed up to adapt the NPR News app for SYNC AppLink. The NPR News app integration with SYNC AppLink brings the features of NPR's mobile application on iPhone and Android into the car with features that include the following:

  • NPR's Newscast: Hear the latest coverage of breaking news by simply saying "Hourly News" at the voice prompt;
  • Get local news from across the nation. Say "Stations" and select your favorite NPR member station for local news and programs, from KCRW in Santa Monica to WNYC in New York;
  • Program your car's radio station presets from the NPR app;
  • Just say "Programs" to listen to your favorite NPR and other public radio programs. If a local station is playing the requested program, the app will automatically play the live stream; otherwise a prerecorded stream will play;
  • Pick stories by topic. Just want science stories? Tell your car "Topics," then ask for "Science." Now you can select stories from 20 of the most popular NPR topics; including politics, movies, health, and more;
  • Create a playlist. Make your selections on your smartphone before you hit the road and enjoy your own custom mix of national and local news and public radio talk and entertainment programs on your ride;
  • Control your listening experience. Now you can pause, skip, advance, even go back within the same story, or to earlier stories; and
  • Get friendly tips. Carl Kasell, popular former NPR newscaster and official judge and scorekeeper of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, will help you navigate between programs

Kasell provides entertaining and informative tips throughout the app, such as: "Hi, this is Carl Kasell. I'm here to help you get the most out of your NPR experience. Your favorite stations are accessible through the number buttons on your dash. Press once to listen. Press again to discover more from that station. However, no matter how many times you press, I won't magically appear in your car. Sorry."

The NPR News app for Ford SYNC offers the variety, choice, and control of a smartphone app in your car. Designed to minimize driver distraction, the NPR News app is easily controlled with voice commands and simple steering wheel controls, allowing drivers to customize their public radio listening experience.

The updated NPR app is available now through the Android Market and iTunes App Store. SYNC AppLink is available on a range of 2012 model Ford vehicles including Fiesta, Mustang, F150, Fusion, and more.

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