Ford using first over-the-air software updates to its 2016 cars

"Our SYNC 3 software platform was created to be easy to update so we can get our customers the latest and greatest features, [functionality] and security enhancements", says Ford Executive Director of Connected Vehicle and Services Don Butler. This is possible on 2016-models, where the SYNC 3 system is running on version 2.2 or higher.

This will give drivers the opportunity to switch out the stock infotainment system for Apple and Google's best efforts.

For Android users hoping to enable Android Auto, its just a case of performing the software update via USB or WiFi.

Now, thanks to a simple USB update (or by visiting a dealership), you can add Android and Apple's in-car functionality, opening the door to a new interface in your auto.

Android Auto is already available on all 2017 models, and this update brings the platform to around 800,000 additional vehicles.




In many ways, the software update, which enable smartphone navigation, notifications and media applications to be synced to the dashboard, will feel like owning a new auto. They can also use a Wi-Fi connection and install the upgrade directly to their vehicle. Android Auto supports phones running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher.

You can bring your vehicle to your local Ford dealership. If an update is available, the system automatically downloads the update in the background over a period of time without any customer interaction. Then your Ford vehicle will periodically connect to the designated WI-Fi network (which means the one whose settings are saved within the vehicle's settings) to check for updates.

If your vehicle doesn't have a manufacturer-supported Android Auto option, there are aftermarket receivers available with pricing starting in the $300 range and Pioneer added five new models just yesterday that support both Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay.

The OTA update option is also a big step for Ford - it's the company's first for software, and it's one of the major reasons that Ford recently hired around 400 new mobile smartphone engineers, the company tells me.

Apple CarPlay is compatible with iPhone 5 or later models running at least iOS 7.1.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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