Things aren't all stars and butterflies with Ford's new version of Sync, MyFord Touch. The system is reportedly rebooting on users.  (Source: Car Saloon)

As climate control is exclusively performed by the GUI (there are no physical knobs anymore), these crashes leave users stuck with the current settings.  (Source: Overall)
MyFord Touch owners voice frustration after troubling experiences

It seems these days everyone wants to fire chip shots at Ford Motor Company's (F) in-car command system, MyFord Touch.  We tested the release version of the system at CES 2011 extensively and found that some of the rhetoric regarding the "complexity" of the menu system was overstated.

The system controls a number of vehicle functions -- audio, navigation, climate control -- so failure is not really an option.  

Thus, unlike some past negative reports, it's a bit more of a concern about the situation AutoBlog reports.  The site writes:

If one of [MyFord Touch's] various functions trips up – navigation, phone or entertainment, among others – the system can restart. This can leave the driver faced with a blank display and a restart procedure that can take two to three minutes. Double bummer: It usually wipes out your paired phones and indexed music.

After talking with several colleagues who have experienced similar issues (including one where the volume was stuck on max while the A/C continued to blow cold air in 42-degree weather) and experiencing these issues first hand for ourselves...

Mounir Hider, a Ford product development engineer responded, informing that such reboots are not performed lightly.  He states, "We don't use this reboot strategy loosely. There are certain events that will trigger these reboots. Mainly it's when things get out of sync with each other."

He also explains that the system automatically reboots every 24 hours after the user turns off the ignition -- something most users never see.

While Mr. Hider's explanation of rebooting under only extreme scenarios seems valid to an extent, the troubling thing is that these reboots appear to be happening to Ford customers on the road.  Also troubling is the fact that the first-gen Sync did not seem to experience this problem -- at least not to this extent.

Our inside source on the Sync design team tells us that Ford "rushed the release of MyFord Touch", and that the result was a system with a lot of rough edges.  We experienced some of those issues first hand with the system's voice recognition woes at CES.  Now we might have received even more insight into what our source might have meant.

At this point Ford is in a unique position as it offers drivers the most advanced in car computer system of any automaker.  But in deciding to do away with physical knobs for climate control, it made a dangerous gamble that MyFord Touch was prepared.  And that move may have been a bit premature, given these issues.

Still, MyFord Touch is only available in the 2011 Ford Edge, the 2011 Ford Explorer, and the 2011 Lincoln MKX, so the fallout from these issues may be limited.  That limited rollout may buy Ford (and its operating system partner Microsoft (MSFT)) the time it needs to fix its system.

Updated: Friday April 1, 2011 12:50 p.m. --

Ford spokesperson Alan Hall shared the following statement with us:

Customers remain highly satisfied with SYNC and 80% say that they would recommend it to others, but we are committed to improving the ownership experience even further. Further to your post, we'd like to stress that the maintenance screen reboot that the AutoBlog team experienced are very rare for our customers. We have already released new software updates into production and these have also been made available through dealers since Autoblog evaluated the vehicles mentioned in the post. The latest software level, launching in the new 2012 Focus with MyFord Touch, features an update that significantly minimizes the chance of maintenance reboots. That same improvement is being applied to 2011 Ford Edge, Explorer, and Lincoln MKX models beginning with early April production, and will also be available for current owners from their local Ford and Lincoln dealer as a SYNC software update. We have already informed our owners, and dealers, of the available software updates, and will continue to do so as they become available. We have also recently launched several customer initiatives to help answer any questions that owners may have about SYNC and MyFord Touch:

Owner Support Website -

-Text and video based tutorials from feature overview to a "how-to" guide

-The ability to share information directly from site via email, mobile, print or Facebook

-A "Click to Chat" option which provides one-on-one conversations with a Ford Technology expert

Our In-Vehicle Technology Call Center provides one-on-one discussions with a Ford Technology expert. Monday through Friday, (8:30am – 5:00pm local time)

- 1-800-392-3673 and select option 3 after the initial language choice prompt

He also asked us to clarify that the periodic reboot was for 24 hours of system up time, not daytime.  And he says that Ford believes the issues AutoBlog raised were "very rare" and adds that Ford has released a software update to improve the stability of MyFord Touch.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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