Voice, touchscreen technology receives an important update.
MyFord Touch has been a boom for Ford, enabling it to appeal to technologically-savvy drivers who prize state-of-the-art connectivity to their cell phones as well as access to detailed navigation maps, voice-free commands and audio functions. However, MyFord Touch has been a problem for some drivers who are unfamiliar with advanced technologies, resulting in unfavorable press for Ford, including criticism from Consumer Reports.
Ford is responding in a big way to consumer complaints and has begun to issue performance upgrades and new features that will be found in 2013 models. For customers who already have MyFord Touch installed, Ford will be mailing USB flash drives to their homes so that they can make these upgrades themselves. The automaker is also giving Ford and Lincoln owners the option of taking their cars to dealers to have the update accomplished.
A new touch-screen interface provides simpler to understand and use graphics and controls. Ford says that “…customers will also experience significantly faster touch-screen response times, one of the top requests from owners.” Among the features added include support for tablet devices and audiobooks from Audible.com, refined navigation maps and revamped voice recognition interaction.
The changes to MyFord Touch follow a critique of the technology published by Consumer Reports in its February 2011 issue. That report, “Ford’s Frustrating High-Tech Controls,” examined MyFord Touch in a 2011 Ford Edge and found it and the related MyLincoln Touch technology “…a complicated distraction when driving.”
Consumer Reports implored Ford to make changes to the touchscreen to make it user friendly and to return to using tactile buttons and knobs. Said CR, “The center screen’s cluttered pages, tiny buttons, and small fonts make choosing the right spot to touch difficult. The screen can be slow to respond.” CR was generally pleased with the tied-in SYNC commands that recognize more than 10,000 words, providing an easier way to control an iPod or to control the navigation system when behind the wheel.
MyFord Touch 2.0
As a result of such criticism and following its own survey of its customers, Ford has made visual and touch changes including providing larger, bolder fonts, the removal of extraneous visual content, and updating the screens for pattern consistency. At a recent “show and tell” in Dearborn, Michigan, this writer was able to observe the old and new versions of MyFord Touch at work. Although not personally having used MyFord Touch previously, the updates appear to remove the clutter and should enhance the technology.
Consumers, of course, will have the last word here – keep in mind that once you perform the update there is no going back to the earlier version of the software. Once you upgrade, the new MyFord Touch or MyLincoln Touch screen you see will be it.
L.A. Auto Show
Ford will be officially rolling out the next generation of MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show this month. The L.A. Auto Show runs from Nov. 18 through Nov. 27, and is being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center located in the southwest section of the city’s downtown. Ford’s display will include several new and updated vehicles and concepts including the 2013 Ford Flex and the next generation Ford Escape.