Automotive giant Ford, has announced that its next generation of infotainment systems in its new vehicles, will offer an alternative to the universally panned MyFord Touch system and instead replace it with a new internally developed infotainment system which is designed to go head to head with the likes of Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto.
The new system, announced yesterday, is called Sync 3 and actually makes use of Blackberry’s in-car operating system known as QNX. This marks a big change from the Sync systems that Ford has operated in the past, which had a Microsoft backbone to them. That however has now been thrown out in favour of Blackberry’s technology.
Ford’s product development manager, Rajh Nair said yesterday, that Sync 3 was designed to be much more intuitive than its predecessors, as well as operating faster too. This was a big focus of Ford’s development team for this generation of in-car system, as it listened to a lot of customer feedback to find out exactly what they wanted of a new navigation and entertainment device.
Although Ford will offer some cars with CarPlay or Android Auto systems, Nair went on to criticise and downplay the impact of the Apple and Google systems, stating that nobody wants to buy a “$30,000 automobile based on your $200 smartphone.”
Granted most iPhones and compatible Android devices are much more expensive than $200, but he does have a point.
The new Ford system will come with an eight-inch touchscreen according to AutoNews, which is the same size as the previous generation. However it will have improved clarity to make text easier to read and icons will be larger to make navigation simpler. However, to help it compete with both of the tech-giant alternatives currently dominating infotainment headlines, Ford has also added voice support, which lets you use vocal commands while you drive.
The question is, how accurate will that be? It’s taken a lot for more experienced tech firms to get that sort of control right. It will be interesting to see if Ford is able to pull it off.
One big improvement to this generation of Sync technology however, is the updating feature. The car can now connect to the internet directly, letting you download updates wherever you are. Previously drivers needed to visit a dealership or have an update posted to them.
Despite all these updates though, Ford will continue selling both previous generations of the infotainment system, with Sync 3 set to become available in new cars around 2016. When it does become available, it will come as standard in Titanium branded vehicles, but will cost around £600 for those wanting to add it as an option. Comparably CarPlay and Android Auto systems can cost a lot less (as well as a lot more) so if your car can fit either of those, chances are it would make more sense to opt for that system instead if given the chance.
Or even eschew all infotainment options altogether and get yourself an aftermarket Pioneer system. It might be a little more expensive, but it will give you more control.