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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 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.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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