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QNX to replace Microsoft's problematic software, and it will also be cheaper

It appears that Ford is finally wising up and is looking to replace the Microsoft technology that currently powers MyFord Touch with Blackberry’s QNX operating system, according to The Detroit News. While Blackberry OS 10 is pretty much dead in the water on the smartphone front, Blackberry’s QNX subsidiary is doing quite well. QNX has over 50 percent market share in the automotive world when it comes to proprietary operating systems and its automotive customers include:
  • Acura
  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Chrysler
  • General Motors
  • Honda
  • Hyundai
  • Land Rover
  • Porsche
  • Saab
According to a person familiar with Ford’s plans, its MyFord Touch-equipped vehicles (including existing models) could “easily” be upgraded to use QNX instead of the current, underlying Microsoft technology. As an added bonus, QNX is cheaper to license than Microsoft's software.

MyFord Touch on the Ford Explorer
To say that MyFord Touch — an infotainment system available on many of Ford and Lincoln’s recently redesigned automobiles — is problematic would be putting it mildly. The voice- and touch screen-based system allows users to access many vehicle functions including entertainment, navigation, and climate control.
MyFord Touch (and by association, MyLincoln Touch), which uses Windows Embedded Automotive 7 at its core, has been plagued with problems since its introduction. Drivers have experienced frozen screens, system reboots while the vehicle is in motion, and poorly responsive haptic controls. Ford has rolled out numerous updates to address these issues, and has even taken steps to bring back physical buttons and knobs on some models to appease customers.

Knobs are making a comeback in MyFord Touch vehicles as seen in this 2015 Mustang with MyFord Touch.
The problems have gotten so bad that Ford has been blasted not only by publications like Consumer Reports, but it has also taken a dive in J.D. Power reliability rankings due to MyFord Touch.
A Ford spokesman did not deny the reports to The Detroit News, and was diplomatic by stating, “Ford works with a variety of partners and suppliers to develop and continuously improve our in-car connectivity systems for customers. We do not discuss details of our work with others for competitive reasons. We are absolutely committed to leading and innovating the smart technologies and in-vehicle connectivity that our customers want and value.”

Ford CEO Alan Mulally delivered the one millionth vehicle equipped with Ford Sync to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in 2009. There have now been over 10 million vehicles with Sync/MyFord Touch sold worldwide.
Ford and Microsoft made a big deal about their partnership with Sync and MyFord Touch. Over the course of the relationship, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and current Ford CEO Alan Mulally became close friends. In fact, the closeness of the two companies and the two CEOs shot Mulally to the top of the list for Microsoft’s CEO position when it was announced that Ballmer would enter into “early retirement”.

Sources: The Detroit News, Bloomberg

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RE: Fan?
By atechfan on 2/23/2014 5:29:06 AM , Rating: 0
You know QNX sucks as an infotainment system? You've used it to know this? Or maybe you've coded for it?

Oh, I see, you are making shit up like usual.

RE: Fan?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/14, Rating: -1
RE: Fan?
By atechfan on 2/23/14, Rating: 0
RE: Fan?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/14, Rating: 0
RE: Fan?
By ritualm on 2/24/2014 3:03:53 AM , Rating: 2
Are you serious now? You showed me ZERO respect and insulted me several times.

Pot calling the kettle black. This is what you wrote against Chaser.
Exactly, that idiot Chaser clearly doesn't get it.

Apparently your insulting people is perfectly justified when they do not support your position that Google/Android is better than (insert mobile OS here). Others do the same to you and you get easily offended.

Grow a pair, kid.
Plus QNX frankly sucks as an infotainment solution. Embedded systems like assembly line automation, yeah it's great. Your car? Not so much.

You have ZERO idea of the proprietary nature of automobile OS systems. QNX has a successful, dominating presence because it works.

If the user-facing frontend is well-designed, who cares what it uses as its backend? For what it's worth, it could be running Perl and nobody gives a hoot.
Android is what you want your car to run. Even if you don't know it yet or want it. It's perfect!

My iPhone 4S could run full-size Blu-ray movies encoded in AVC High Profile, high bitrates at full speed. Meanwhile, a significantly better, more powerful, quad-core Cortex A9 tablet running Android Jelly Bean cannot even run the same movie downsized to 720p Main Profile without stuttering and skipping frames. That awful first-hand experience is part of the reasons why I ignored every Android tablet on the market and bought a Surface Pro 2 instead.

Android isn't the best for everything, and the mere fact that I need superpowered hardware specs just to have a barely okay usage experience stinks to high hell. Even KitKat today absolutely chokes on middling hardware that WP7.8 and iOS7 have no performance problems with. A car with its infotainment system running on Android is a car that I'll spend more time dealing with ForceClosed apps more than actually enjoying using it.

RE: Fan?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/2014 6:06:16 AM , Rating: 1
Furthermore I'm literally shocked that you people don't believe Android is going to dominate this market.

What do you think powers Google's self driving car? Just..lmao! Wtf is wrong with you guys?

I think you guys have it all backwards. I'm not a Google fanboi. You just hate Google so much you can't even bring yourselves to honestly observe tech-trends. And anyone who DOES is just a Google 'fanboi', clearly.

Maybe this will help clear things up. But I doubt it...

RE: Fan?
By atechfan on 2/23/2014 6:40:13 AM , Rating: 1
No, not a fanboi at all. You just appear in any Google article to defend them. In fact, you appear in many non-Google articles, like this one, and bring Google pinto the discussion.

RE: Fan?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/2014 6:49:15 AM , Rating: 1
You know something? You sound exactly like someone that used to come here.

Matter of fact, your account was created right around the time he "left" Daily Tech.


You just appear in any Google article to defend them.

Look at my post count, I "appear" in pretty much EVERY article Sherlock.

Pretty sure most of your posts so far have been about "defending" Microsoft. So when you point fingers at someone else, yeah, you know the rest.

And I want to see Android offered in more vehicles, because the current offerings are pathetic. Let's at least be honest about that. Current infotainment solutions from other companies are HORRIBLE, overpriced, and offer poor value.

So yeah I brought it up here, because it's extremely relevant. Your god, Microsoft, utterly failed here. That doesn't mean you need to act all butthurt.

Just remember, we could have been friends. When I run you off here, like I have so many others, just remember this moment and the decision you made to make this personal.

RE: Fan?
By atechfan on 2/23/2014 7:08:27 AM , Rating: 2
I know MyFord touch failed. It was awful. Not sure how much was MS's fault and how much was Ford's fault, but it failed miserably. Not sure why the touch was so bad when it works fine on Windows devices. Maybe it was based on WinCE and was poorly implemented. Maybe it was bad hardware. I don't know.

Taking out physical controls completely was idiotic though, regardless of the OS behind the system. Ford is now moving to an OS with a proven track record in automobile usage. And, more importantly, they are putting actual buttons and dials back, which are by far superior in an environment where you want to find them by touch rather than sight.

We can still be friends. I agree with you on almost everything we have discussed that was not related to Google. But remember this. I'm not the one butthurt. I'm not the one who said it is now personal. I'm not the one threatening to run someone with a different opinion away. I'm not even defending MS in this article, but you somehow can't see this. You have obvious anger issues, going all internet tough guy suddenly.

RE: Fan?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/2014 7:36:48 AM , Rating: 2
Ford rather rip people off by offering an extremely overpriced solution, than one that works well for the end user.

That's why it failed. And that's why this QNX solution will fail once Google gets their car agenda clicking.

That's why I support Google. They don't want to make a huge markup on the hardware. Hell they don't even want to make a dime off it. They WANT the experience to be as good as possible, so more people will use it. Because that's where their money is made.

Taking out physical controls completely was idiotic though, regardless of the OS behind the system. Ford is now moving to an OS with a proven track record in automobile usage. And, more importantly, they are putting actual buttons and dials back, which are by far superior in an environment where you want to find them by touch rather than sight.

Agree on principle, but the execution better be right. BMW uses buttons too, and....I don't know, reviews seem mixed.

We can still be friends.

Cool. Look at 6 in the morning after being up all night, I probably said some stuff I didn't mean.

RE: Fan?
By Source9 on 2/23/2014 9:40:24 PM , Rating: 2
Hahaha you support google cause they care about us end users experience. Give you head a shake. They will data mine everything they can out of an in-car system and also probably start forcing ads through the system once they control a big share of in-car systems.

Everything you just said makes no sense, we are all dumber just by having to of read that.

RE: Fan?
By atechfan on 2/23/2014 6:46:52 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, and your link shows 4 auto makers with plans for Android. Much smaller than the list that uses QNX currently. You have a different definition of "dominate" that the rest of us.

The other two companies on the list don't matter for the sake of the argument. Google will be there, of course. NVidia is desperately trying to find a market for their mobile chips after Samsung and Qualcomm so soundly trounced them in the phone market.

RE: Fan?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/2014 6:55:36 AM , Rating: 2
The alliance just began in 2014. Google wants to dominate the automobile. So far I don't see any indication that they wont. I didn't say there were "dominating" right NOW, and you know that.

If you think I'm crazy just see what industry experts and analysts think, or tech writers, whoever. It's not like I'm the only one saying this stuff.

Just look at what the Open Handset Alliance did for Google on the smartphone. The same model is going to work for the car.

So far your best argument seems to be "UH NAH, because I said so." Not very compelling..

RE: Fan?
By atechfan on 2/23/2014 7:21:06 AM , Rating: 2
No, my argument is that QNX is well suited for the task, and is entrenched. Android may very well do well in automotive entertainment. The demo GM put on with Android was fairly impressive. That isn't part of the argument though. You are the one who came on saying Ford was stupid to go with QNX, and you are the one who started calling QNX defenders idiots.

I really don't care who makes the back end for a car infotainment system, as long as it stays out of the way. Ford made the mistake of making the whole system touch based. Touch screens are a terrible way to control your volume, heater, AC, etc when driving.

Why does a driver even need an "infotainment" system? GPS naviagation, fine. Hands-free dialing, fine. But beyond that, and we start getting into a "tech for the sake having tech".
How does replacing the control panel with a giant touch screen make things better? I'm all for tech that improves the experience. But putting a touchscreen in place of superior physical controls all because it looks for futuristic is stupid.

RE: Fan?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/2014 7:52:40 AM , Rating: 2
I really don't care who makes the back end for a car infotainment system, as long as it stays out of the way. Ford made the mistake of making the whole system touch based. Touch screens are a terrible way to control your volume, heater, AC, etc when driving.

We have the technology right now, today, to make Star Trek: The Next Generation styled computer voice interaction a reality.

Why deal with touchscreens or buttons? I should be able to just say "Computer, heat, 50 percent." And have it happen!

RE: Fan?
By drlumen on 2/23/2014 1:18:05 PM , Rating: 2
Without taking a side here, you should remember that google is big on autonomous drive tech and testing many vehicles. If that trend continues and their autonomous drive system makes it into the wild, why would Android not be used for the infotainment system?

I'm just glad Ford is getting away from MS. I too would like to see them use android as there is a much greater developer environment and apps currently available. Perhaps that is a reason that the automakers haven't used android. Maybe they want to keep it a bit more proprietary.

RE: Fan?
By Griffinhart on 2/24/2014 10:51:14 AM , Rating: 2
I mostly agree with you but...
I really don't care who makes the back end for a car infotainment system, as long as it stays out of the way. Ford made the mistake of making the whole system touch based. Touch screens are a terrible way to control your volume, heater, AC, etc when driving.

Many of these controls aren't solely touch based. While some cars have some touch sensitive controls (off screen) many models have buttons and knobs as well. I have a 2012 Ford Focus with My Ford Touch. Volume Can be controlled by the touch screen, but it can also be controlled from the steering wheel and the Console via a big volume Knob. I can change channels, songs, etc all without touching the screen and even by voice.

My Climate control options can be done via Touch Screen, Voice commands or via Buttons and knobs on the console. They only part of the system that is completely touch screen only is the GPS system.

In my two year experience with My Ford Touch I find it to be pretty good overall, though there are some annoying quirks. It's definitely not perfect, but it's still pretty solid.

Fortunately, Ford seems to be hearing usability complaints on these touch sensitive controls. Newer models are favoring additional buttons. The 2015 Mustang's system looks to be pretty nice.

As far as infotainment system is cars go, I don't really care what's driving the back end. As long as it has:
-Reliable Blutooth connection.
-Address Book Syncing
-A Good GPS system with Traffic.
-Good input sources (a couple of USB, Aux, SD Card, etc)
-And above all, Be Platform agnostic when it comes to phones.

That last part is important to me. Auto Purchases tend to be long term. My last car I had for 11 years. Having any features that would lock me into any one phones ecosystem would be terrible.

RE: Fan?
By Wizec on 3/4/2014 4:56:59 PM , Rating: 2
Right now the best entertainment is you.

BlackBerry owns this market and will for the foreseeable future:

The secret to Apple's new CarPlay? BlackBerry

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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