Ford will continue to place its Sync infotainment system in the middle between Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with Sync supporting both car-based operating systems.
Mark Fields, CEO of Ford, said that while it is important to use the latest mobile technologies within vehicles, the company will not be making a decision between Apple and Google.
“At the end of the day we don’t want to end up as the handset business,” said Fields in an interview with technology news website Re/code held at Ford’s research center located in Palo Alto, California.
Phone manufacturers, similar to PC manufacturers, found out the hard way that utilizing a common operating system could lead to the production of powerful devices, but could also lead to losses in the hardware business.
The automobile industry, with its already thin margins, stringent requirements and lengthy development and production times, could not afford to face a similar situation.
Ford, however, is not saying that it will not work with tech companies. It is actually claiming the opposite, especially with the company investing in its four-month old research center.
Like most of the other car manufacturers, Ford is showing support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with the operating systems only a secondary interface to a company’s primary system.
According to Ford CTO Raj Nair, the reason for that decision is partly to ensure that customers have a choice in the purchases they make.
“We want to make sure you are not pushed into a decision on a $40,000 car based on your $200 smartphone,” said Nair.
Ford, also like most of the other car companies, sees its own infotainment system as a major selling point for its vehicles. Nair claims that their collected data reveals Sync is a major draw within showrooms.
Ford will be looking to make Sync work better with Apple’s and Google’s systems to allow for interactions, such as customers using Google Maps while listening to music from Sirius radio through the Sync system, according to Nair.
The company will be releasing a new version of Sync over the summer to replace the Microsoft operating system with BlackBerry’s QNX. The new version will also feature news apps, an updated touchscreen and the ability for over-the-air updates.
Ford is also looking to include cellular functions to its vehicles, with Fields stating that cellular-capable vehicles in addition to the company’s electric cars and certain Lincoln models will be launched soon.
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