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Mobile phones are no longer just a hip accessory; they've become an essential in most people's lives.

Having such an abundance of capability all wrapped up into one small gadget means the world is your oyster, no matter where you are.

But there are times when it is dangerous or even illegal to use a mobile, such as when you're behind the wheel of a car. Despite this, the temptation to set up a playlist or even use the sat nav can be irresistible.

A new in-car system takes away the ability to use the screen of your phone whilst you are driving, but makes the full range of functions still available via some innovation technology. We take a closer look at Sync Applink and examine just what it can do.

The basics
Sync Applink, which uses technology provided by Nuance, is a radical new system which allows car drivers access to their smartphone apps even whilst they are driving.

Using voice activated software, motorists are able to tap into their mobile and control a range of the most popular apps on their Android or iOS devices.

The system is an integrated part of the car, and works by harmonising controls with your phone, allowing the technology to recognise when you are behind the steering wheel.

Ford is currently rolling out this voice control system to its European fleet so you can expect to see it in the sales showrooms around you very soon. The car manufacturer has opted to install it as standard into a number of its ranges, including the Fiesta, C-Max, Focus, B-Max, Eco-Sport and Kuga.

Ford drivers can also benefit from an additional app known as Glympse which allows them to post their location directly to Facebook, a feature which is expected to be popular.

How does it work?
The smartphone needs to be connected to the car for the technology to work; once it's locked in, the technology automatically freezes the screen so the driver can't be tempted to reach over and start using the phone.

To access any of the features, the driver presses a button on the steering wheel and simply says “mobile apps” and then gives the name of the app they want to use. Once opened, the driver can then instruct the device to play music, or provide instructions, depending on what they've chosen.

There's already a wide range of apps which are compatible with the device including CitySeeker, TomTom,, EventSeeker and Spotify.
The technology has been described by users as particularly intuitive, and doesn't require pre-configuration. The system has the capability to process natural language and levels of accuracy are reported as being excellent.

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