Ford’s just committed to deliver 5 vehicles in 2016 with their latest infotainment offering, SYNC3. Unfortunately today’s announcement didn’t come with a full list of the exact models. For those who’ve determined their next vehicle must have Android Auto or Apple CarPlay support, you can now look to Ford as a viable option, with all SYNC3-enabled vehicles, also offering support for the smartphone platforms.
If for some reason you don’t have a phone, the SNYC3 system (built on Blackberry’s QNX platform) now features more conversational voice recognition technology, moving past the thin list of predetermined commands it would accept in previous generations.
Ford of Australia President and CEO, Graeme Whickman said,
“Our customers are connected outside their vehicles, and Ford SYNC 3 will help them stay better connected while continuing to drive with their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road,”
“Our leading local R&D investment also helps us stay better connected to Australian consumer needs, including SYNC 3’s new voice-recognition technology that speaks and understands Australian accents.”
When developing SYNC 3, Ford say they are listening to customers, drawing on more than 22,000 customer comments and suggestions from around the world. Part of that feedback was the demand for Ford to support the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so owners could extend the functionality of their phone, to the display and speakers in the car.
While SYNC 3 may be a step forward, the decision to allow users to take over the infotainment system with software provided by Google and iOS is recognition the development cycle of vehicles can never match that of smartphones. There’s also the updatabilty of smartphone software which happens automatically, overnight when on charge and connected to WiFi, vs the overly complex process of taking your vehicle to a dealer.
Compatible with iPhone 5 and later models, Apple CarPlay provides a simplified way to use your iPhone interface in a car’s touchscreen, giving users access to Siri voice controls, as well as Apple Maps, Apple Music, Phone, Messages, and a variety of third-party apps.
When connected to an Apple iPhone, SYNC® 3 offers seamless integration of Siri Eyes-Free control. Drivers can seek Siri’s help by holding down SYNC®’s “Push to Talk” steering wheel button – much as they would hold down the button on an iPhone to initiate a Siri session.
Android™ users can activate Android Auto™ through the SYNC 3 interface. Android Auto makes apps and services that drivers already know and love, accessible in safer and seamless ways including Google Search, Google Maps and Google Play.
Android Auto is available on devices with Android 5.0 and higher, it enables functions including voice controls for phone calls and messaging.