First it was AM radio, then it was 8-track tapes, then cassettes. Now Ford Motor Co. is swiftly moving toward a future when cars no longer have CD players in their dashboards. The move will start in 2012, when the company introduces its SYNC digital in-dash system to European versions of the Ford Focus.

“In-car entertainment technology is moving digital more rapidly than almost any other element of the vehicle experience,” Ford’s global trends and futuring manager Sheryl Connelly said to ExpertReviews. “The in-car CD player – much like pay telephones – is destined to fade away in the face of exciting new technology.”

SYNC provides access to cloud-based audio streaming and music storage services from within the car, along with everything else it does, meaning the disc player is no longer useful.

Ford also invites smartphone app developers to submit their ideas. Anyone interested can get information about the SYNC API and software development kit at the Ford SYNC website.

No need for panic, however. “Ford will obviously continue to offer CD players while there is demand,” reassured Ford’s multimedia manager Ralf Brosig. “However, over time we expect customer preferences will lead us quickly into an all-digital approach to in-car audio entertainment.”

On July 28, Ford also announced it will preview TechShop Detroit, a joint project between the auto company and DIY workshop and training enterprise TechShop. during Maker Faire Detroit on July 30-31.

Ford is the first automaker to work with TechShop to open one of its centers, which offer creative minds of all kinds affordable access to tools, machinery and even “dream coaches” so they can design and develop prototypes of their latest inventions, both automotive and otherwise.

Bill Coughlin, president and CEO of Ford Global Technologies, said, “We want this space to inspire all inventive individuals and communities in and around Detroit to innovate and create.”

Related Links:

Ford SYNC for developers –

ExpertReviews post –

Digital Music News post –