When an Accenture study found that car consumers prized connectivity above every other factor in a new car, issues with the MyFord Touch infotainment system became even more glaring. Ford’s Microsoft-sourced in-car technology has taken a beating over the years from journalists and consumers, but the automaker announced the Blackberry Sync 3 is coming on board in the next model years. With the upgrade to a system used in luxury automobiles, Ford will aim to upgrade tech ratings and overall quality grades.
Accentuate the positive
In announcing the arrival of Sync 3 and the death of MyFord Touch, the automaker’s press team left the departing pariah unmentioned. New models produced in 2015 will get Sync 3 systems running on Blackberry’s QNX technology. Despite the lack of allusions to MyFord Touch, Ford did go out of its way to mention how Sync 3 would be an upgrade over the unmentionable.
In deploying its “faster, more intuitive and easier to use” system, Ford emphasized how much more drivers would get. In case you didn’t understand how much more, they threw in a “more conversational voice recognition technology” and “a more smartphone-like touch screen. We get it: MyFord Touch was bad and Sync 3 will be infinitely better, and there’s more than anecdotal evidence to back up that claim.
When it was first rumored Sync 3 could replace Microsoft’s flop of an infotainment system, a J.D. Power study had just beaten up automakers for systems like MyFord Touch. The numbers were damning: One in five people who had a problem with a car’s performance had a problem with its technology. Ford is hoping Sync 3, using technology now on the road in Audi and Porsche vehicles, will put them back in good standing with the geek squad.
Listening to Ford drivers
Ford’s company statement also emphasized the customer-first approach of the Sync 3 overhaul.
“SYNC 3 is another step forward in delivering connectivity features customers most want, and they tell us this kind of technology is an important part of their decision to buy our vehicles,” said Raj Nair, Ford’s chief technical officer. According to the automaker, more than 20,000 customer comments influenced Ford’s design for Sync 3.
Ford cannot help but play offense now that tech giants from Google to Apple are getting into the auto infotainment game. According to CNET, this upgrade to QNX technology from Blackberry is Ford’s effort to beat back CarPlay (Apple) and Android Auto (Google) lest it gets a hold on the automaker’s customers. The battle should be an interesting one in the coming years.
As the technology of choice in foreign luxury cars, Sync 3 should represent a major step up for Ford in its connected car capabilities. Ford can use every upgrade in dependability and overall quality ratings it can get.