The Ford Sync system, a comprehensive hands-free infotainment system, prepares for its eighth model year release and the system seems vastly improved overall.
However, in late Feb. 2014 a major internet tech news source claimed that Ford was preparing “to drop Microsoft as the developer of the Sync system and replace it with the Blackberry QNX system.” The trouble with this story, which has been re- reported by dozens of news agencies, magazines, television networks, bloggers and other media sources, is… well, this isn’t an official news story.
From a journalistic standpoint, it’s pretty sketchy to cite the source of this story as “according to people briefed on the matter.” A more credible source might be the actual manufacturer of the seven million vehicles equipped with the Sync system. To date Ford has made no announcement on this topic.
At best this story raises more questions than it answers. As an owner of a vehicle equipped with this technology I would wonder that, if there was a change of the operating system, how would it affect the use of my vehicle. How would this “change” affect a vehicle warranty? And, I would assume that whatever new system and software that was released would have be crafted so it could “adapt” any previous versions and ensure that they function properly.
In the past year Ford did release a major software update to its MyFord Touch system in mid-August 2013. Yes, there were all sorts of stories about “unhappy customers” before this release. In a recent internet search it was difficult to find many Sync users that were claiming that the Sync system or the MyFord Touch system had any major issues.
As a Ford Sync Specialist, I personally work with dozens of Sync users every week at a major Ford dealership. Nowadays the questions, problems and concerns that customers have stem mainly from their understanding (or lack of understanding) of their smartphones. Sometimes the issues are based on their personal usage – the process of accessing the App, or having Apps that conflict with Sync (Emojis II, for example). Sometimes a customer is trying to use a smartphone App that could “turned off” if the phone detects that it is moving. Most times the issues stem from loss of Bluetooth signal, causing the device to become “un-paired.” And for this issue, a clean pairing, and sometimes a “hard reboot” resets everything (see elsewhere in this blog for this topic). And, a lot of issues can be resolved simply by completely powering down the device and letting it completely reboot before getting in your vehicle and turning it on.
At our dealership, we have better than 95% usage and acceptance of the Sync system. We take the time to show customers how to use the system. We answer questions and we show customers how they can get “more” out of this telematics system. And since the Gen 2 V3.6.2 software update last August everything’s been working fine with our MyFord Touch systems.
One of the main issues with this story that suggests the Blackberry QNX system may be used in place of Microsoft is that it had not been verified by Ford, Microsoft or Blackberry. So the story “sounds credible” but at this stage of the game there is nothing to substantiate the claims. So for now, we’ll wait for Ford to make any necessary updates or announcements.