Ford Motor Co. is dropping the name “MyFord Touch” in an overhaul of the touch-screen infotainment system that sent its quality ratings down in recent years.
The new system, which Ford calls “Sync 3,” uses BlackBerry’s in-car operating system, QNX, instead of the Microsoft technology that has underpinned Sync since its introduction in 2007.
Sync 3 will be available starting in the 2016 model year and offered throughout the full Ford and Lincoln lineups by the end of the 2016 calendar year, Ford said.
With Sync 3, Ford hopes to resolve the bugs and complaints that turned MyFord Touch from an industry-leading feature into a liability. Raj Nair, Ford’s product development chief and chief technical officer, said the company incorporated more survey data and feedback into Sync 3 than it has when rolling out any new vehicle.
Nair said Sync 3 — so named because it’s the third generation of Sync, with the second being MyFord Touch — is designed to be more intuitive and quicker than the current system, which Ford introduced in 2010 to make its vehicles stand out among technology-craving, smartphone-carrying consumers. He said it’s designed to be “device agnostic,” working with any type of smartphone, though it does include Siri Eyes Free capability for more seamless integration with Apple Inc.’s iPhones.
“We don’t want you making a purchase decision about a $30,000 automobile based on your $200 smartphone,” Nair told reporters at a demonstration this week.
The 8-inch screen is the same size as MyFord Touch, but text is larger, touch zones are larger and background colors are brighter. Voice controls respond to more conversational language and return simpler prompts if the system fails to understand what was said.
“Simplicity has value,” Parish Hanna, Ford’s global director of human machine interface, said in a statement. “Reducing the number of things on-screen also makes control easier, and is designed to limit the number of times a driver has to glance at the screen.”
The system can automatically update itself using an owner’s home wireless network, whereas Ford had to fix past glitches by mailing out upgraded software or asking customers to visit a dealership. Vehicles equipped with MyFord Touch will not be able to upgrade to Sync 3.
Ford said pricing for Sync 3, which will be standard on the Titanium trim level, will be comparable to that of MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch, which cost about $1,000 when elected as an option. Ford won’t have a distinct name for the Lincoln version of Sync 3, though the system will have a different visual theme when installed in Lincolns.
Photo Credit: Ford