Ford dumps Microsoft for BlackBerry's QNX in Sync in-car platform

Ford Motor Co. took the wraps off the latest version of its in-car technology platform, Sync 3, and though it has a bevy of new features, one of the biggest changes is behind the scenes: the platform is powered by BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) subsidiary QNX's technology and not Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), as TechCrunch notes. The shift was a long time in coming for Ford and Sync, which, at eight years old, is one of the most established and mature connected car technology platforms. Earlier this year Ford indicated it was "not married" to partnering with Microsoft, whose technology had powered the first two iterations of Ford's Sync platform.

Ford had relied on an operating system currently known as Windows Embedded Automotive. However, as Fast Company notes, QNX is the dominant software system for connected cars, and has around half the market, counting BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes, Toyota and other car makers among its customers.

Ford says the new, QNX-powered Sync has a more conversational voice recognition technology, a more smartphone-like touch screen and easy-to-read graphics. Ford said Sync 3 makes it easier for users to play songs via voice commands, for example, and also lets consumers search for points of interest more generically.

The new interface will come in new Ford cars next year and should be rolled out across the entire lineup soon after, according to CNET. Sync still supports AppLink apps on both Android and iOS, which lets users connect their smartphone to their vehicle and control their compatible apps using voice commands or buttons on the vehicle's display screen. "We want it to be what we call 'device agnostic,'" Ford CTO Raj Nair said. "We've always said we don't want you to be making a purchase decision about your $30,000 automobile based on a $200 smartphone." Article

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