MyFord Touch upgraded, still not available in Oz
Ford has announced an update to its much-criticised car tech interface, previously plagued by slow performance and cluttered screens.
It was much to our disappointment that Australia-bound versions of the new Ford Focus didn't come shipped with the company's MyFord Touch entertainment and nav system. But, given the teething problems it's been having overseas, this mightn't have been the worst thing.
The MyFord Touch interface first appeared in the US in 2010, and began its international march with the new Focus in 2011. The interface featured LCDs in the instrument cluster showing navigation, phone, audio and trip data, along with a big centre touchscreen allowing control over these different car tech functions. But the touchscreen interface was subject to much criticism by CNET and others for its slow performance and cluttered displays.
Today, Ford showed off an update to the system, intended to address its various problems. According to the company, the MyFord Touch update features refined graphics on the more than 1000 screens in the system, with responsiveness improved by two times or more and a few added goodies, such as iPad compatibility and Audible.com integration.
The new, improved MyFord Touch interface.
John Schneider, Ford's chief engineer for HMI, Driver Controls and Infotainment, said, "The front end has been simplified, and the system has been given selective functional improvements".
Extraneous information has been removed from the screens, and the buttons on the touchscreen are now arranged in a grid pattern, so users don't have to hunt as much for a particular function while trying to drive.
Ford released an image of the new satellite radio play screen (above). Comparing it with the old screen (below), one can easily spot the larger fonts and more distinct buttons on the touchscreen. The preset shortcuts were moved from a vertical menu on the right to a strip along the bottom, similar to the way most other systems are organised, while some other buttons were removed entirely.
MyFord Touch still uses an audio source menu down the left side of the screen, but it is easier to read, with more distinct graphics than the previous version. Ford left the basic architecture intact, with different theming colours for phone, navigation, stereo and climate functions, accessible in tabs at the four corners of the screen.
The old interface is considerably more cluttered.
(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)
Schneider also notes, "Things are about twice as fast, and the transitions from different function areas are smoother".
The HMI team improved performance by optimising the system's sub-processes, freeing up bandwidth from its Freescale iMX51 CPU for more critical tasks. The result should be a better customer experience, with touch response times more in line with what people have come to expect from modern touchscreen devices.
Ford announced other improvements to the system, such as updated maps and larger collection of 3D landmarks. The Gracenote database has been updated with the latest music data and album cover art, and Ford has improved the system's ability to reconnect with a previously paired Bluetooth phone.
The updated system will be shown at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show. Owners of current Ford vehicles equipped with MyFord Touch will be able to update their systems from early next year. There's still no word yet on when the MyFord Touch system will be available in Australia.