26/02/14/ Update: Ford Australia told CarAdvice "there is no plan to drop SYNC. In relation to partners, Ford works with a variety of partners and suppliers to develop and continuously improve our in-car connectivity systems for customers. We do not discuss details of our work with others or our future product plans for competitive reasons." - This does not necessarily rule out the swap from Microsoft to Blackberry as per the original report, only that Ford will keep the SYNC name.
-- Original articles:
Ford is reportedly looking to drop its highly criticised Microsoft Sync connectivity system in favour of one from technology rival Blackberry following ongoing complaints about the Windows-based system.
The Microsoft-powered Sync system has been problematic for Ford, with the brand taking a big hit in customer satisfaction surveys in the US as a result of malfunctions and usability issues.
A Bloomberg report links Ford with the ailing Canadian technology brand, bucking the trend of many other car companies that have teamed up with Google and Apple to bring the next generation of in-car technology systems to market.
Ford is believed to favour Blackberry’s QNX system for its leading cross-platform compatibility. The report offered no timeline for the transition, though we suspect the new operating system, if approved, will be at least six to 12 months away.
According to customer surveys by research firm Accenture, 39 per cent of US car buyers rank in-car technology as the top selling point for purchases compared with just 14 per cent who rate power and speed in top spot.
Blackberry, which was once the dominant player in the smartphone market has seen its market share drop below one per cent as Google and Apple dominate the segment. It has also seen its shareprice plummet by 95 percent since 2008.
Google, with its Android mobile operating system, has teamed up with technology firm Nvidia as well as car makers General Motors, Honda and Hyundai to bring its mobile operating system to the road.
Conversely, Apple has teamed up with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan to bring ‘iOS in the car’ to a broader audience. Audi already implements an Android-based system with its Audi Connect operating system.
Blackberry's future has been in doubt for sometime, given the company had been put up for sale and failed repeatedly in finding a suitable buyers. Is Ford's apparent decision to go with Blackberry a risky move?