Ford CEO refuses to let Apple and Google take the wheel

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Don't expect pure CarPlay in Ford vehicles anytime soon. Photo: Apple
Don't expect pure CarPlay in Ford vehicles anytime soon. Photo: Apple

Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto are the two hottest options right now for car infotainment systems, but if you’re hoping that Ford will give you a pure CarPlay experience in one of their upcoming vehicles, you might as well keep on waiting for the mythical Apple Car.

Ford currently supports both CarPlay and Android in a limited capacity, but for now its CEO says the company will only allow the two systems to serve as secondary interfaces to its primary navigation system, SYNC.

“At the end of the day we don’t want to end up as the handset business,” Ford CEO Mark Fields told Re/code in a recent interview at the car markers R&D center in Silicon Valley. With thin margins, strict safety requirements, and long development times to worry about most of all, the car maker doesn’t want to become like the PC makers that learned a common operating system isn’t always great if you want to be a profitable hardware company.

“We want to make sure you are not pushed into a decision on a $40,000 car based on your $200 smartphone,” Ford CTO Raj Nair said. “The data shows SYNC has been a significant draw in the showroom.”

Ford also has an Apple Watch app in the works, which Nair says took his team just one week to build. For now, Ford isn’t completely abandoning integration with systems from Apple and Google. Nair says Ford is looking for new ways for SYNC to work closely with CarPlay and Android Auto. Like if you want to use Apple Maps for directions, but listen to Sirius radio through SYNC, Ford will make that possible.

Ford’s redesigned SYNC 3.0 system is expected to release this summer, and ditches Microsoft’s coding for BlackBerry’s QNX. Once SYNC 3.0 finally launches, Ford says it will get CarPlay supported vehicles on the road before the end of 2015.

Source: Recode