Ford has begun sending USB-keys to 300,000 current Ford owners who drive cars powered by Sync and MyFord Touch. According to Ford, the update improves the user interface and makes it more readable. It also improves the system responsiveness, which is a critical metric for any touch-enabled system. It is arguably even more important in a vehicle because the longer the user has to wait for a response, and the more he or she is distracted from driving.
Ford also says that the voice recognition and the compatibility with mobile devices has been improved, and that includes “support for tablet computers and Audible audiobooks, improved navigation maps and destination entry”, according to the official press release.
The upgrade package should arrive to the first users this week and will contain detailed instructions on how to perform the upgrade. Those who have opted for a GPS system will also get an additional SD Card with updated maps.
The auto industry has long been very slow to improve its embedded computers, including the infotainment system (one of less “critical, safety-wise”), because there are always a number of qualifications unique to vehicles. However, this upgrade by Ford seems to indicate that the pace of improvement and innovation is going to accelerate. Will car owners be as excited by smartphone users about the latest system update? This may be closer than you think. [official support page]