Ford, NPR unveil voice-controlled news app

LAS VEGAS: Drivers of numerous 2012 Ford vehicles will be able to listen to National Public Radio on their own schedules through the integration of NPR's News app with Ford's Sync AppLink system.

LAS VEGAS: Drivers of numerous 2012 Ford vehicles will be able to listen to National Public Radio on their own schedules through the integration of NPR's News app with Ford's Sync AppLink system. The companies formally launched the partnership at this week's International Consumer Electronics Show.

Consumers will be able to control the app through voice commands or steering wheel controls without taking their eyes off the road, the companies said. Spoken commands will allow consumers to access NPR content, including local news, the hourly NPR Newscast, playlists, stories by topic, and NPR programs, at any time.

NPR president and CEO Gary Knell said at the briefing that NPR is the first major news organization to release an in-car app.

"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," he said.

Doug VanDagens, Ford's global director of connected services solutions, said the carmaker plans to create future content partnerships with other companies as well.  

“This is by far our richest content," he said, during the briefing. "We think it's innovative, we think it's groundbreaking, and we think it's disruptive."

The app will be compatible with a number of 2012 Ford models, including the Fiesta, Mustang, Fusion, F-150, and Expedition. It can be used to access NPR content from as far back as 1986.

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