Ford Sync, an in-car entertainment center running Microsoft software, has won praise as the first system to integrate hands-free calling, music playing from MP3 players and voice control of all functions. (PopSci was among the admirers, awarding Sync a Best of What's New award.)
Despite all its cool functions, Sync doesn't cost much to build, according to a report today from research firm iSuppli.
Once again, our pals in El Segundo, CA ripped apart a perfectly good gadget to see what makes it tick. The answer: not much.
But do you get what you pay for? One of our editors had a hair-pulling-out experience with a Sync-equipped car last week. Ford insists it was an anomaly, and is sending us a new model to test. Stay tuned for our verdict.
Meanwhile, click ahead to see what components make the Sync work (or not work).
Two chips from Freescale Semiconductor form the $15.80 heart of Sync. A few additional chips and some memory make up the rest. Here are the ingredients:
Freexscale i.MX31L: 400MHz processor runs the Microsoft operating system, handles voice recognition and does all audio signal processing. $10.80
Freescale MC9S12XDP512: microcontroller that links all the components. $5.00
Cambridge Silicon Radio BC41B143A BlueCore device: supports the phone book, audio transfer and hands-free Bluetooth. $1.75.
Cirrus Logic CS42448 audio codec. $1.65
Micron Technology 256Mbit mobile Double Data Rate RAM. $4.80
Samsung 2 gigabyte flash memory. $3.80.
Can I put one of these in my car? For under $30? If so, tell us how!
Okay, before everybody finds this and starts getting upset with Microsoft I want to make three points.
Number one: Microsoft has to pay off its investment so they're obviously going to be a profit made and profit margins in the technology sector are always higher than that of even the oil companies...
Number two: The most expensive thing in the whole unit is not any of the parts. Hardware is relatively cheap.
Number three: The most expensive "thing" in the whole unit actually is residing on that cheap memory and just so happens to be the softwar that Microsoft spent Millions either developing themselves or buying from other companies.
What you are paying for when you buy a Sync equipped Ford is SOFTWARE (not yelling just emphasizing) not hardware.
Obviously they have to cover their R&D costs and also make some money. Microsoft and/or Ford dont get grants from Government.
It is cool tech and a great partnership from two not so great companies. So when will Apple and BMW get together and make something better?
Was it really so hard to figure out everyone wants something like this in their car? They just need to sell an after market media center that everyone can replace their car stereo with. I am amazed the components are so inexpensive, so sell more.