Ford reboots touch-screen system with new Sync 3

Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:00pm EST
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By Bernie Woodall and Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote) hopes to get a fresh start and erase bad memories for some owners when it launches the new version of its in-car, interactive touch-screen system next fall.

Ford said Sync 3 will be more intuitive, sport improved voice-recognition software and operate more like a smartphone than the first two generations, the last of which prompted customer complaints in Consumer Reports magazine for being distracting, clumsy and overly complex.

Ford is replacing Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote) software used on its first two generations of in-car connectivity with smartphone maker Blackberry Ltd's (BB.TO: Quote) QNX system for Sync 3.

Previous generations of Sync and MyFord Touch performed poorly in Consumers Reports' surveys.

Chief Technology Officer Raj Nair said Ford put a lot of effort into finding out what customers wanted, including drawing on 22,000 consumer comments.

Citing smartphone ownership of 80 percent by Ford customers, Nair said Sync 3 will "perform more like today’s smartphones and tablets but with specific details to make it appropriate for travel." It will also "seamlessly integrate" with Apple Inc's APPL.O Siri virtual-assistant capability for iPhone users.

Getting connectivity right is important for all automakers at a time when problems with infotainment systems are often the biggest complaint about new vehicles, according to Consumer Reports.

Ford said it has turned the corner on customer satisfaction on the current version of Sync, which was introduced in January 2007.   Continued...

A Ford logo is seen during preparations for the 2014 LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, California November 18, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson