Ford has announced its third-generation SYNC infotainment system to replace the former MyFord Touch. SYNC 3 will be faster, more intuitive, easier to use, and has better response to driver commands than previous versions.
Key features include:
- More conversational voice recognition technology
- A more smartphone-like touch screen
- Easy-to-read graphics
These features will help millions of drivers connect with their lives and control their smartphone while on the road.
“Ford is delivering an easier way for customers to stay connected,” said Ford chief technical officer and group vice president for Global Product Development, Raj Nair. “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.”
Ford drew on 22,000 customer comments and suggestions, plus insights gleaned from research clinics, market surveys, and tech industry benchmarking, to improve the SYNC system.
All-New Touchscreen & User Interface Improvements
An all-new touch screen delivers an experience similar to that of a smartphone or tablet, even though SYNC 3 is optimized for hands-free use. SYNC 3 also responds quicker to touch, voice commands, and smartphone-like gestures including pinch-to-zoom and swipe. A new, bright background and large buttons with easy-to-read fonts for daytime use help reduce glare in the sun yet at night, the display automatically switches to a dark background to help reduce eye fatigue and minimize reflections off the windows.
“We considered all the modern smartphones and mobile operating systems and created something familiar but unique,” said Ford global director of Human Machine Interface, Parrish Hanna.
Phone Contact Search
Phone contacts are searchable via a simple swipe of the finger − just like on a smart phone − to scroll through the alphabet. SYNC 3 users can even look up points of interest or enter addresses in much the same way they use an Internet search engine.
“Simplicity has value,” added Hanna. “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.”
SYNC was one of the first systems to offer voice-activated technology to control smartphones. With the third generation, it’s now more capable and easier to use due to a reduction in the number of steps needed to carry out a command.
Say “play <song, artist, album or genre>” and the system will play your desired song, artist, album, or playlist. To switch back to a radio station, the driver or passenger can simply say the radio station number.
Voice search also works better to find businesses and points of interests thanks to a revised recognition system on SYNC 3. Now, drivers don’t have to know an exact name in order to find the desired result. In addition, when connected to an Apple iPhone, SYNC 3 offers seamless integration of Siri Eyes-Free, allowing drivers to access Siri merely by holding down SYNC’s “Push to Talk” button on the steering wheel.
Ford was the first automaker to bring voice control to apps running on the user’s brought-in smartphone and on the infotainment system with AppLink, and the experience is further improved with SYNC 3.
It now can automatically discover smartphone apps including Spotify, Pandora, Stitcher, NPR One, SiriusXM Radio, and iHeartRadio Auto. Now, these apps are automatically displayed on the screen along with other media sources just like AM/FM.
“Overall, AppLink is faster, more responsive and easier to find your apps,” said Ford global product manager for AppLink, Julius Marchwicki. “The overall design of SYNC 3 allows for better integration with smartphones – resulting in a more user-friendly experience.”
Additionally, developers easily can integrate branded apps into AppLink, giving owners the ability to experience a vehicle screen similar to what they would see on a smartphone. And like a smartphone, the SYNC 3 operating system will be able to be updated when near a Wi-Fi signal.
SYNC 3 will arrive on new Ford and Lincoln vehicles in 2015. Although not confirmed by Ford at the time of publication, we imagine that owners of existing vehicles with SYNC (1) or MyFord Touch systems will not be able to update to SYNC 3 since it is running on an entirely different software base.