– Ben Martens


Ford Ousts Microsoft

fordsync3previewThe next version of Ford Sync won’t come from Microsoft. They’re tossing out the old system and starting with a newer one that, frankly, makes more sense to me. Here’s the problem: your car lasts 10 years and your phone is out of date in two years. The existing Ford Sync systems are basically a point in time piece of technology that needs to live the lifetime of your car. Why bother baking all that into the car? All you need is a big touch screen with some microphones and buttons placed around the car that all work in concert with your phone. Your phone already has the Internet connection and is being regularly upgraded, so let the phone be the brains of the operation. The car should just be a dumb terminal that gets smarter and more useful when a phone is within range. That seems to be more the direction that Ford is taking with the new system and it’s the way that the systems from a lot of other companies work too.

I have my eye on one of the new F150s but I struggle with the decision about Sync. I like having the big screen with navigation in my car, but the Waze app on my phone is so much more useful. Is it worth spending the extra money to get the current full Sync system like we did in the Escape? Probably not. The basic functions that let you connect your phone via Bluetooth are useful, but the rest of it just gets out of date pretty quickly.

Hopefully we are heading in a direction where the carmakers don’t try to compete too much in the fast paced consumer technology world, or if they do, they give us a way to upgrade the hardware. Even if you velcro’d a tablet to my dash, I’d be pretty happy. At least I’d know I could replace it in two years with something cooler/better and it would probably interact with my phone a lot better than the system you developed years ago based on even older hardware.