Spotify is coming to Ford Sync, then – it was only a matter of time. The announcement was made at the Ford press conference at MWC this morning, an event which came to an exciting conclusion as Charlie Wassisface from once-beloved group Busted played a heartcooling ballad that was almost, but not entirely, unlike music.*
Spotify for Ford Sync has been designed to integrate the two services as seamlessly as possible. So there is no separate app, and nothing you need to install on your phone other than the regular Spotify Mobile app.
Ford Sync users will be familiar with the experience - your phone connects to the car via Bluetooth when you get in and then you launch the app using either a voice command or by scrolling to the service using the car dash.
Choosing Spotify launches the app on your phone (with special, secret Spotify-Ford splashscreen) and then you're free to do everything you'd normally do with Spotify. The difference is, though, that everything is done using voice commands.
Driver distraction is a major bane for car companies looking to broaden their infotainment horizons, so Spotify for Ford SYNC is designed for use with vocal instructions. There isn't even an option to take command of Spotify by picking up the phone - touch is completely disabled. It's the Sync way or the highway.
You can do the obvious things like choose a playlist, skip tracks, play/pause etc easily enough. But you can also select artists and ask the car to read out the available albums. You can add or remove tracks from playlists by simply saying "remove Charlie Wassisface from…" and it all works great - SYNC never has any trouble working out what you're trying to tell it.
There are some limitations though. We tried "purge Charlie Wassisface from Spotify servers" but his back catalogue remained in the albums list. However, Ford engineers at MWC ensure us they're working to improve the service so you never know.
Those who have used in-car services like Sync will know they bear some resemblance to the old text adventure games from the '80s. If you get lost, it's hard to find your way out. So if you've browsed to the Creedence back catalogue, saying "Play Stairway to Heaven" isn't going to work. But luckily, the regular Sync Help service will happily inform you of all your instruction options if you just say "HELP!"
If you're shy and don't like talking to your car like Michael Knight, there is also the option to map your Spotify playlists and artist radio stations to the buttons on the Sync dash.
Ford Sync Spotify release date
If you're running a Sync car with Applink (IE if you're in the US) and you're a Spotify subscriber, you should be able to get the two services up and running in your car by the end of March, so keep your eyes peeled and get those road trip playlists up to date, yo. For the rest of us, Spotify will only be available in the one Applink compatible car in Europe for the time being.
* OK, so he wasn't that bad. But it was still funny when most of the audience wandered off during his song. Sorry, Charlie.