Why should drivers be without Twitter?
That's the question Ford
Ford's timing is equal parts intriguing and crazy. It's intriguing because CES is the ultimate gadget show, and Twitter is the new "new" thing in geek chic. Announcing at this show is like previewing a prized film at Cannes. Everyone's watching.
But good publicity is only part of the equation. By teaming with Twitter for Sync, Ford is signaling a desire to be more aggressive about selling premium vehicles that boast premium features. Every carmaker wants the same thing. It's why you see former NFL star and current NFL analyst Howie Long on TV pitching Sync rival, OnStar, as a differentiator for GM vehicles and a must-have for drivers.
Twitter isn't a must-have for drivers. Not Ford's version, anyway. USA TODAY says that Ford plans to allow Sync to speak tweets aloud to drivers. No other interaction allowed.
If that weren't bad enough -- strip Twitter of interactivity and all you're left with is digital voyeurism -- several state legislatures have taken up debate over banning texting while driving. There's also a budding market for technology that prevents teens from using their smartphones while behind the wheel. TASER
I recognize that listening to a stream of tweets isn't the same thing, but it's hardly a stretch to imagine Sync's voice-activated system being recalibrated to both send and receive tweets. How would that work practically? Would it be distracting enough for legislators to care?
Twitter is proving to be transformative to some businesses. Dell
Ford may benefit from Twitter one day, too. But it won't be with this technology; this version is out-of-sync with what users expect from Sync.
Now it's your turn to weigh in. Would you tweet and drive if given the chance? Is Twitter becoming more a part of your daily routine, or are you still on the sidelines? Tell us your story using the comments box below.
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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the market-beating Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy suffered an overdose of M&M's over the holidays. It's doing fine now, thanks for asking.