Since the debut of Ford’s SYNC infotainment system in 2007, the company has been besieged by a wash of negative reviews that highlighted the Microsoft-driven system’s unwieldy nature, its slow response times, confusing interface, and highly limited functionality, which never seemed to be able to keep up with its competitors. After seven years of griping from Ford owners and critics, the company is finally ready to dump the aging Microsoft system and start anew, with all signs pointing to software provided by Blackberry.
At first glance, this wouldn’t appear to be good news. Blackberry is best known as the smartphone company that managed to transition from trendsetting market leader to rejected laughingstock over a few short years. However, they’ve been quietly cultivating a serious automotive decision recently and it’s shown great promise.
Although neither Ford nor Blackberry has officially commented on this partnership yet, it has already been widely reported and is seen as mutually beneficial for both parties. Blackberry’s automotive software division, entitled QNX, already serves as the underpinning for a series of new technology-related automotive advances from prominent partners such as Apple, Pandora, and Texas Instruments. In fact, Apple’s recently debuted CarPlay feature is powered by QNX software. QNX specializes in mobile connection and features in the vehicles of more than 40 carmakers, including Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Honda, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. With this résumé, it seems like Ford is making an intelligent decision in hiring Blackberry to replace Microsoft.
Not only is this good news for Ford, but it is also good news for other tech companies. Not only is it significantly easier for a wide range of devices to connect to a QNX system, but it could also pave the way for other tech giants like Google and Apple to continue to branch out into the automotive sphere. While Apple’s CarPlay represents its first real foray into the automotive industry, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Enormous corporations like these, that prize the mobility, functionality, and everyday integration of their products, won’t pass up an opportunity to break into the automotive sphere. With increased focus on touchscreen dashboards and mobile integration, the mainstream integration of software like QNX could pave the way for increased technological integration in the modern driving experience.
[Sources: Zdnet, Extreme Tech, Ars Technica]