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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Audi: Comparison of Audi's MMI against Ford's Sync

Audi MMI vs. Ford Sync
We started reading this review having no doubt who will be the winner at the end, but the final result left us wondering. Wondering about what the author was looking for. The given result reminds us of the useless comparisons between PCs and Macs where usually the PC-minded authors compare item by item but disregarding the whole picture. People who choose and drive an Audi and therefore use the MMI are looking for something different as they are different. They like to make the statement of being different, by having a value for design AND ease of use. Please keep that in mind when reading this article over at our source, the "powered by Microsoft" on every Sync system should be a warning for you.
Like a Michael Bay action flick, Audi's MMI system is a showcase of expensive special effects. The high-resolution display is clean, colorful, and downright dazzling. Each menu — phone, navigation, music — has its own display color. And when shuffling between categories, the screen dances and flashes like the Pink Floyd laser shows you used to trip balls to in high school. With everything controlled by a dial on the center console, MMI shared design commonalities with the iPod even before it was capable of communicating with one. The system made its debut in 2004 with the then new A8, but it wasn't until last year that Audi finally integrated full iPod functionality on models equipped with MMI (A/S5, A/S6, and A/S8). A connecting dock was available previously, but song playback was limited to six pre-compiled playlists that mimicked a six-disc CD changer. The new system presents a re-creation of the iPod interface via the MMI dial and the dash-mounted screen — or, to help keep the driver's eyes closer to the road, a full-color screen between the main gauges and a small roller dial on the steering wheel. A main menu presents options for playlists, artists, albums, or genres, and after diving from artists down through albums and into specific song lists, an arrow at the top of each screen (or a separate return button) moves the system one step back toward the main menu.

Similarly, the dial can be used to cycle through a synchronized phone's contacts list, while pressing the dial initiates or ends calls. Additional options — all lit up in green, the phone menu's color — bring up recent calls or a rotary number pad for manually keying in calls.

The Audi system's strength is its familiarity. Anyone who has used an iPod will find the interface intuitive and simple, and the fact that Audi Music Interface is designed to work with Apple means that no one using it will be an iPod noobie.

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Source: Motive Mag


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