• Feb 19, 2010
MyFord Touch – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 19th century was the last time automobiles were on the vanguard of cutting-edge technology. While the ensuing ten decades have seen lots of automotive innovation, Fast Company magazine only came into being in 1995, and has been naming its top ten "Most Innovative" companies every year since. Ford has secured a spot smack in the middle of the list this year, the first time a car manufacturer has been invited to rub elbows with the likes of Amazon, Apple, and Google.

What has Ford done to deserve this honor? Swing open the door to a 2010 Taurus and it becomes clear. The Blue Oval's rides are immersion tanks of technological integration. From the Sync system to the more comprehensive MyFord Touch, there's been no let-up in Ford's push to put premium tech features in all its models. Ford's market research reveals that most buyers opt for the system, and at least a third of buyers think Sync was a critical enticement to their purchase. From our time with it, we agree, it's some cool stuff, and the 1.5 million Sync-equipped Fords prowling the street agree.

The actual honor is a fifth-place finish for mobile technology, and Fast Company says "the automaker has taken a great leap forward." Mark Fields backs that statement up by looking into his crystal ball (supplied by Visteon) and saying "Our relationship with Microsoft was just the beginning, as we've forged strong relationships throughout the mobile industry and look forward to even more." More cool stuff on the way? We'll take it. Press release after the jump.




PRESS RELEASE:

FORD NAMED ONE OF FAST COMPANY'S TOP 10 "MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES" IN MOBILE TECHNOLOGY
  • Ford Motor Company shares ranks with Google, Apple, Amazon and HTC on Fast Company magazine's annual Top 10 list of the "Most Innovative" companies in Mobile technology
  • As the only automaker to ever be featured on the Top 10 Mobile list, Ford was recognized for the industry-leading mobile device connectivity technology, SYNC and the new MyFord Touch driver interface
  • Ford has been the convergence point for automotive and consumer electronics innovation collaborating with many mobile device manufacturers, software and app developers, and network providers

DEARBORN, Mich. Feb. 18, 2010
– What does Ford Motor Company have in common with Google, Apple, and Amazon? Ford shares a spot with them on Fast Company's Top 10 list of "Most Innovative" companies in Mobile technology, and becomes the first automaker to ever be recognized in the category.
"This honor represents Ford's commitment to innovation and development of technology that enhances the driving experience and adds real value to the consumer," said Mark Fields, Ford president, The Americas. "We're very proud of this recognition from Fast Company, and it is truly an accomplishment to be named amongst some of the leading technology innovators and mobile application developers."

Fast Company ranked Ford fifth in the mobile technology category for the introduction and evolution of SYNC, the industry-leading connectivity system co-developed with Microsoft, as well as the recent reveal of MyFord Touch, an innovative user interface that promises to redefine the in-car experience. "The automaker has taken a great leap forward," says Fast Company.

Ford developed SYNC in response to the explosive growth potential of the mobile device and embarked on a strategy to build a software-based connectivity platform that could leverage the increasing power of the phone and improving data networks. MyFord Touch expands on the system's device connectivity features by delivering a graphical, touch, and voice-controlled user interface that maximizes SYNC's capability and provides an intuitive and safer way for drivers to interact with the car.

"Collaboration and strategic investment in open innovation have been keys to our success," Fields said. "Our relationship with Microsoft was just the beginning, as we've forged strong relationships throughout the mobile industry and look forward to even more."
In addition to introducing MyFord Touch at the recent 2010 International CES, Ford became the first automaker to announce hands-free command and control of smart phone apps. Pandora, Stitcher, and OpenBeak are the first to implement the SYNC Application Programming Interface (API), enabling drivers to voice control the apps through SYNC's Bluetooth connection.

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 33 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kudos, compliments and a tip of the hat to all the folks at the Big Blue Oval.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's why I bought a 135i in 2008 - no idrive (horrible interface) got a dash completely clean, manual, and a motor that's just a blast to push the accelerator pedal.

      The "tech" is hidden in the center console (my iPod connector). Hands never leave the steering wheel for phone calls (voice activated), radio volume, iPod song selection just to shift that M tranny.

      Call me old fashioned too with a desire for the minimalistic tech intrusion.

      Of course our new Mustang 5.0 on order will have Sync ;) nothing like the sweet sound of a 5.0 412hp V8 !
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh there's the road. Forgot what i was focusing on.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thank you! Finally a sane person on this blog. I mean i could use a radio/cd player but all these touchscreens are getting ridiculous. I'm tired of every automaker jumping on the bandwagon with these touchscreens. And then when they make it standard, the average price of cars go up.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They need to close the Mercury brand. There truly is no point. Nothing but rebadged Fords(which isn't a bad thing). And if Mercury is supposed to compete with Buick. The Fords are nicer than Mercury vehicles. Maybe they can turn Mercury into a minimalist brand. One of traditional luxury without all this techno gadgets(satnav, endless touchscreens, harddrives, etc.) Then I might be interested.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I am a bit of an old school traditionalist when it comes to cars, but when a truely innovative product comes out people say wonder why nobody else thought of that and wonder why this hasn't been in cars all along.

        And this is what Ford is doing with Sync and MyFord touch. All this stuff really belongs there the way it is implemented, with thumb controls on the steering wheel, voice controls, integration with smart phones, navigation, customizable instruments, etc. I think that it is great that century old US manufacturer is leading the way again, just like old Henry Ford did with the automobile production line nearly a century ago.

        When they're focused, Ford has the corporate culture to be a true leader. Nice to see that again.


        Now if they could do something with Mercury...
        • 4 Years Ago
        lol exactly. I love what Ford's doing, but I'm old fashioned. If it was up to me, all cars would have a steering wheel, pedals and a seat.

        seat belts would be part of the technology package.
      Schmim
      • 4 Years Ago
      At the end of the day, it's always about the driver's experience. For some cars its sheer speed and handling. For others, its more about economic value and practicality. What ford is trying to do is make a car that connects with all your favorite little toys and and lets them do their thing while you drive. I tell my car to play a specific song, my car tells me to take the next right. I crash, my car calls the cops for me. I dont see how this is in any way a bad thing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Americans respect value and quality.
      FoMo "gets it." User friendly, reliable technology at and affordable price.
      Keep integrating modern features in creative ways without short term gimmicky clutter.
      The current leadership has created a departmental culture of winner to take business from the competition. That make loyal customers proud to own their products.
      The integration of Euro handling & engine trends couples with sound designs is a positive trend I for one respect.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "ur congratulating a multi-billion dollar company? I don't understand how people identify with car companies like it's a country. I'll enjoy a car but never praise it's company, just doesn't make sense". - LesPaul1

      Aww yes the Irony. I bet you priase Gibson Les Paul Guitars?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Indeed. I like how people like to gloss over the fact that other PEOPLE worked their asses off to make the Sync and MyFord stuff.

        So for Les, who's obviously clue deficit, the "hats off" is to the men and women to did this work and got it deployed. The fact that you can get this option on normal average cars is amazing, rather than on some Teutonic luxo-barge, which is actually inferior.

        For assembled an in-house software team to deliver this, built on the MSFT automotive bits. Everyone else just outsources it. Just look at GM, they merely stuff head-units with some on-star frosting from the lowest bidder in their cars. Sync in a Focus makes OnStar in a CTS-V look like a joke. Call someone on the phone to get directions? LOL.


      • 4 Years Ago
      If you're gonna post an interior pic, why not tell us which car it belongs to rather than leave us guessing?
        • 4 Years Ago
        You are right, 2011 Edge.
        • 4 Years Ago
        my guess would be the new Edge...?
      • 4 Years Ago
      wow, nice, very nice. Though can't help thinking how all this increase in complexity affects reliability, hope it doesn't. Way to go Ford, way to go. Just small wish - please offer more engine options - particularly, please offer a V8 in your sedans for those stubborn ones who don't buy into turbo frenzy
      Virpilosus
      • 4 Years Ago
      The basic point of this brief article is true: Ford is making some real contributions to making our autos technologically comparable to the rest of our personal "mobile" world; all good. The problem, however, in my mind (or wallet) is the PRICE you have to pay, either as an option, or just as a "premium" over another (otherwise equivalent) automobile. Effectively, I would have been shopping something like Fusion, but, because of the premium techno-goodies, and the price they add to MSRP, I can't. Until the prices come down I am still looking at less expensive Japanese, Korean, or other foreign option purchases. Interesting and inviting technology aside, I am still, first and foremost, buying a CAR, not a mobile phone accessory, etc.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Virpilosus
        My problem is that I want a high-end Fusion without all those Synch bells & whistles. Can I get one without spending a ton on things I don't want? Leather & heated seats & nice stereo & high-end trim level, but no touch-screen. I have nav and all that other stuff on my cell - should I really pay for it twice?

        • 4 Years Ago
        @Virpilosus
        "or other foreign option purchases"

        Well that really only leaves German cars. Cars from Germany generally carry a price premium as well--often without the 'techno goodies', so to me the real problem is that Ford is American, and because of that you expect to pay less for one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Virpilosus
        a base model Fusion is cheaper than a base Camry and Accord. The same goes for the Focus when compared to a base Civic or Corrolla. The only company where you'll get a cheaper comparable base model is Hyundai.
      • 4 Years Ago
      aren't those system developed by Microsoft?...
        • 4 Years Ago
        The core architecture was, but Ford designed it to do what they needed in an in-vehicle application.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If its made by Microsoft then does that mean it will get the Blue Screen of Death or the Red Rings of Death?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Basically, an entertainment center on wheels.
        • 4 Years Ago
        More like....

        Tying existing technologies together that otherwise are can be dangerous to use on their own or a pain to use on their own while in a vehicle by way of a single integration platform called Sync...........aND.... Putting control into the hands of the vehicle owner so they can limit the possibilities of their vehicle being abused by valet or used in excessive ways by youth that don't yet understand what it feels like to collide into a tree at 100MPH...with a thing called MyKey!

        Is that what you mean?

        P.S. Is a car that parks itself an iRobot with a big motor? Well okay, I agree on that one! ;)
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's called brand identity. Some people prefer car companies over others. Nothing wrong with it, and if you wanna throw a fit, go to a different blog.
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