After listening to customers, Ford introduces a more streamlined infotainment system
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company
On-board vehicle infotainment systems have become as important as styling and fuel economy when it comes to selling vehicles to mainstream consumers. At the forefront of this movement since it partnered with Microsoft to create the original SYNC system, Ford recently pulled the covers off the new SYNC 3 system.
The first offering born of Ford’s current partnership with Blackberry, SYNC 3 was not created in a vacuum. Instead, the companies relied on customer comments and research to craft a cleaner, more-user-friendly interface for the system. This revised system arrives in new Fords starting next year.
“Ford is delivering an easier way for customers to stay connected,” Raj Nair, Ford chief technical officer and group vice president, Global Product Development, said. “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.”
It should come as no surprise that the inspiration for many of the changes to the SYNC system comes from the same devices it is designed to control.
“We considered all the modern smartphones and mobile operating systems and created something familiar but unique,” Parrish Hanna, Ford global director of Human Machine Interface, said.
Besides simplifying the touchscreen interface, SYNC 3 also responds to more streamlined voice commands. You will no longer need to specify that you want it play an artist, album, or song. You can just say play and the name of what you want played. Likewise, the voice-activated navigation will respond to more general instructions, and even understand numerical shorthand. See it in action right here:
“Simplicity has value,” Parrish added. “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 will also recognize AppLink-compatible apps—like iHeartRadio Auto, NPR One, Pandora, SiriusXM Radio, Spotify, and Stitcher—on your device and display them as optional sources. It will even show the app logo on the touchscreen if you want to switch between them by hand rather than by voice.
“Overall, AppLink is faster, more responsive and easier to find your apps,” Julius Marchwicki, Ford global product manager, AppLink, said. “The overall design of SYNC 3 allows for better integration with smartphones—resulting in a more user-friendly experience.”
Perhaps most exciting of all, SYNC 3 will be able to update itself over Wi-Fi from your garage or driveway. That means you won’t have to copy updates to a thumb drive and carry them out to the car anymore.
Sync 3 Gallery