Ford was one of the first car manufacturers to announce its intentions to add support for Google’s Android Auto to its in-dash systems. Questions concerning how Ford plans to integrate Google’s solution, however, have remained since the initial announcement. In an interview with Re/code today, Ford CEO Mark Fields clarified some of the details regarding the company’s plans to offer Android Auto (and CarPlay) in its vehicles.
Fields first commented that Ford doesn’t want to end up as the handset business, meaning that the company doesn’t want to simply offer hardware with other operating systems. Ford has its own SYNC in-car solution and it will continue to offer it in all its vehicles. Fields feels that offering hardware without custom-built software is a recipe for being unprofitable.
Furthermore, Ford CTO Raj Nair noted that the company’s reasoning for offering CarPlay, Android Auto, and SYNC is to ensure that buyers have a choice. “We want to make sure you are not pushed into a decision on a $40,000 car based on your $200 smartphone,” the executive said. Nair also noted that the company’s SYNC system is a draw for buyers.
Regarding how Ford will manage offering three in-dash systems, Nair explained that SYNC will work very closely with Android Auto and CarPlay. For instance, if a user wants to use Google Maps but listen to Sirius Radio through SYNC, their car will support that.
Finally, CEO Mark Fields noted that in-car cellular connectivity is an area of interest for the company. Fields expects the feature to be available in more cars gradually. In-car cellular connectivity will of course be instrumental in improving the experience of Android Auto.
Android Auto support will come to Ford vehicles alongside SYNC 3 later this year and will ship in new car models beginning at the end of this year.
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