Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Inside Ford's App-Happy Fiesta–But No Manilow (and BoomTown is a Fanilow)!

Last week, outside the Facebook f8 developers conference, BoomTown checked out the new 2011 Fiesta model, which will be the first vehicle in which smartphone apps can be voice-controlled via its in-car synching software.

While getting a test, I interviewed the Ford dude–Julius Marchwiki–who has been in all the YouTube videos of late touting its digital prowess.

Ford has been trying to fast-forward its automobiles in the digital space to try to differentiate itself from other car makers, using SYNC AppLink, as well as other innovative Web-friendly features.

In December, Ford (F) said it would make the next generation of its SYNC-enabled vehicles into Wi-Fi hotspots, allowing drivers and passengers to connect to the Internet everywhere much more seamlessly in a moving car.

Presumably, the ultimate in mobile.

One speed bump: SYNC AppLink will work only with Google (GOOG) Android and Research in Motion (RIMM) BlackBerry devices for now, although Ford promises an Apple (AAPL) iPhone solution soon.

Pandora Internet radio, online talk radio aggregator Stitcher and mobile Twitter client OpenBeak are the first SYNC-enabled mobile applications.

Here’s my interview with Marchwiki, as well as Scott Monty, Ford’s social media guru:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik