Rumor: Ford could dump Microsoft for BlackBerry inside next version of Sync

Ford could be ready to make a major change for the next generation version of its Sync in-car computing system. Bloomberg reports that the company will use the QNX OS, owned by BlackBerry, as the basis for the next Sync, taking the place of the version of Windows that is being used in the current iteration of the technology.

Ford co-developed Sync with Microsoft and it made its début inside a few cars in 2007. It has since been put into seven million Ford vehicles. In 2012, Ford and Microsoft said they were already working on the version of Sync, code-named Evos. 

However, Bloomberg reports, via unnamed sources, that Ford has seen owner satisfaction of its cars go down in the past few years and is looking to improve the quality of its vehicles. That includes its on-board technology, which is becoming more important for new car buyers. The story claims that using BlackBerry's QNX OS will improve Sync's speed and readability while also being less expensive than Microsoft's Windows. ONX is already being used inside cars made by BMW and Audi.

None of the companies mentioned in the story would comment on Bloomberg's rumors. If true, it would certainly be a huge boost for BlackBerry, which is currently struggling to stay alive after a horrible last few years.

Source: Bloomberg | Image via Ford and Microsoft

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft confirms Facebook Messenger app coming to Windows Phone

Next Story

LG: No plans in the near future for a new Windows Phone handset

26 Comments

View more comments

Both statements are pretty unfair on BlackBerry. QNX is an excellent OS for advanced embedded use cases, and QNX CAR is a fairly advanced ICE operating system. If it's good enough for the likes of Audi and BMW, I'm sure it's good enough for Ford too

theyarecomingforyou said,
Or Microsoft's platform is so bad that even Blackberry is better.

I just bought a 2012 Taurus, and while I like mostly like Sync, it is terribly slow with some things. I've had it 4 months and already had to have the whole system reset to get Bluetooth working again. The last update for my system was 2011.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Or Microsoft's platform is so bad that even Blackberry is better.

"It's good that Ford is ditching Sync… but what killed Sync was Ford not Microsoft. Sync is a forked version of Windows CE that is maintained by Ford (and offshored to a 3rd party vendor for maintenance).

The bugs, the poor UX, it's all a result of extremely poor execution on the part of Ford. Switching to a new OS doesn't solve that problem."

http://microsoft-news.com/repo...hnology-to-blackberrys-qnx/

theyarecomingforyou said,
Or Microsoft's platform is so bad that even Blackberry is better.

A friend of mine has a brand new Explorer with Sync, and it's simply terrible. It gets confused easily, and it's dreadfully slow. Every time he starts the car, the voice says some stupid message about an emergency setting, and we couldn't find a way to turn it off. So annoying. It's simply an embarrassment, and anything else would likely be an improvement.

This is why I don't like the idea of buying a vehicle with licensed tech built-in. A few years down the road, its just a dead, unsupported feature in your car. I suppose if you change cars often, its not a big deal, but vehicles are something I tend to hang onto for awhile.

All technology is out-of-date after just a few years and that's especially problematic for cars given how long they are expected to last. At the end of the day you have to buy based upon what is on offer today and avoid those that rely on online services, as they are usually the first things to go.

Agreed. An industry standard software suite would be much less of a headache. Bundle your proprietary services, sure, but the base should be the same.

I understand what you're saying but car companies could do a much better job making this technology more modular so the buyer has the option of upgrading to a newer version or even going with a different setup altogether. Of course this will never happen as they want you to trade up every 5-7 years, kinda like mobile phones. Throw away society

Agree. Ideally they make it so the hardware (not just software) is easily upgraded. That way you can keep your car up-to-date with the latest tech...

The BIG question is...


Will it allow you to connect to, play music from, and control from the steering wheel of
your iPhone, Android and WP devices????

If it can connect to (bluetooth) and at least give me a playlist (and current song name) and ability to skip songs... Then Who Cares which OS is inside!!!!

Really what they need to do, is treat the Car system as a 'dumb' terminal. Let your phone do all the work and mirror it on the Car display. They can offer the option of the 'full' car system for people that don't have smartphones, but the 'dumb' display will make it be more 'future' proof.

The only tech that has actually tried to do this, however, is garbage. MirrorLink and such are tied down to specific phones, and apps have to be custom written for MirrorLink to work, which obviously, makes itself the problem that it is trying to solve.

If they just made a touch-screen display that is an aux monitor to my phone that works across all platforms, then that's all you need.

Cars makers can be so annoying with trying to guess what users want in navigation, stereo, etc when there is an unbelievable aftermarket and third party solutions to all these things that are way better.

Give me an option of a touch screen that mirror's a device that I choose (iOS, Android, whatever) and leave the rest to me.

Tell you right now, if customer satisfaction is going down, it's less because of the limitations of the OS and more because of:

1) Craptastic hardware. Your smartphone is multiples more powerful than the hardware your car's head unit is built on.

2) Driver distraction regulations. These are pretty complex sets of guidelines for interacting with the vehicle and UX design errs on the side of caution and just decimates user experience in order to avoid any risk of failing distraction tests.

Tesla's in-vehicle computer isn't awesome because of the OS it uses--it's awesome because they basically said "Oh, driver distraction is just a guideline and not a law? F*k it then, let's just ignore it and build something cool."

well, virtually all microsoft OS need to patched every month for ever-new bugs/glitches/security holes.

so perhaps BlackBerry's OS would be a better option for long run.

Torolol said,
well, virtually all microsoft OS need to patched every month for ever-new bugs/glitches/security holes.

so perhaps BlackBerry's OS would be a better option for long run.

Yeah sure Blackberry never had to patch their OS that's why it worked out so well for them. MS is the only company that patches their OS.

nickcruz said,

Yeah sure Blackberry never had to patch their OS that's why it worked out so well for them. MS is the only company that patches their OS.

is that sarcasm?

They should make what ever system the choose, easily removable and upgradeable. Otherwise, it will be obsolete and unsupported. Make it easy to replace/upgrade the system and it would do much better.

I like Sync but I think they should allow more updates customized purchased updates to be added by USB key. I'd like to add GPS navigation to mine since it didn't come stock, and I'd also like to add the hack to the system to allow the backup camera to stay on by switch instead of just reverse

The entire ford sync ecosystem is wacked. I've heard from 'industry sources' (take that for what you will) that at least one of the versions of Sync runs partially on Linux. I believe the MFT software was not developed by Microsoft, but a contractor... in short it's a clusterf.

If any company (MS, BB, Neowin LLC!!) could take full control for it, it would be miles better than it is now, which is a hodgepodge of multiple computers interfacing with multiple systems in multiple ways to avoid a car that stalls if the bluetooth stack crashes.

I don't like this news. Sync in my Shelby is wonderful. I find it better than the system in my daily driver, a Benz E350. I guess money does talk.

ir0nw0lf said,
Do any of the car makers use something Apple based? iCar anyone?

Yes there are a number of auto manufacturers partnered to put iOS in the dash.

Commenting is disabled on this article.