MyFord Touch was powered by a Microsoft operating system, but Ford is now using an OS from BlackBerry subsidiary QNX that already runs in-dash systems in Audis, BMWs, and Mercedes-Benzes, among others. In 2005, the system’s early days, a partnership with Microsoft was “completely obvious,” says Gary Jablonski, Ford’s manager of infotainment systems. “We wanted a big software company, lots of horsepower, connected to the consumer industry, connected to the phone industry.” The BlackBerry software, he says, will be more resistant to crashes of the PC variety. It turns out the kinds of bugs people will tolerate from their phones drive them crazy on the road.
Sync 3 aims to wipe the touchscreen clean with a far easier interface. “We really focused on trying to make a system that was the simplest to use for customers,” Jablonski says. That goal may sound obvious, but John Schneider, the project’s chief engineer, acknowledges that to justify the added cost, “We tried to pack a lot of features into MyFord Touch.”