Click here to view a video about the origins of SYNC: http://youtu.be/CGP9j9iYzww"Thanks to our partner Microsoft and their expertise, we have turned the car into a platform with extensive opportunities for developers to work with us to continue to add value through new features delivered at the speed consumers now expect," continued Mascarenas. "With more than 1 billion smartphones now in service around the world, we expect mobile connectivity will continue to be the foundational element of our strategy going forward." "We've worked with Ford on SYNC right from the start," said Kevin Dallas, general manager of Windows Embedded, Microsoft Corp. "Taking a platform approach enabled us to move quickly and deliver an innovative solution unlike any in the industry while providing us the flexibility to continue to deliver new features and improvements to Ford customers." While cars and trucks typically stay on the road for more than 10 years on average, people often replace their consumer electronics every couple of years to keep pace with the latest advances in technology. The SYNC development team created an architecture based on the Windows Embedded Automotive platform that took advantage of open protocols like USB and Bluetooth ® to enable virtually any device to be connected for media playback and communications. That decision turned out to be more prescient than anyone on the team could have imagined. When SYNC was first announced on Jan. 7, 2007 at the International CES, the presentation featured the iPod, Motorola RAZR flip-phone and Palm TREO smartphone. Just two days later, Apple began a mobile phone revolution and the beginning of the app economy with the announcement of the original iPhone. When customers began driving the first car available with SYNC, the 2008 Focus, in fall of that year, most were using SYNC to make hands-free calls using their feature phones and play back music from iPods with simple voice commands powered by Nuance voice recognition technology. Five years on, there are smartphones powered by a diverse range of platforms including iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone mobile operating systems. With ample on-board storage, processing power that rivals desktop computers from five years ago and fast wireless data connections, these phones still work with those original SYNC-equipped vehicles. They also power new capabilities like AppLink™, 911 Assist®, Vehicle Health Report and SYNC Services, a cloud-based service network including traffic reports, turn-by-turn directions, business search, news and sports scores and movie listings. "Now, it's clear that building an open, upgradable connectivity platform has been key to the success of SYNC because it has allowed us to stay relevant to the consumer," said Mascarenas. "With SYNC, Ford vehicles are no longer stuck with the technology built in at the factory, they can keep pace with the latest consumer trends through simple software updates."