A few months back, Ford told us that it had listened to consumers and wanted to cure the ills of the first generation MyFord Touch. Starting today, the Blue Oval will begin shipping out USB drives to owners of 2013 Ford Taurus and Flex models, allowing them to install the latest version of the software from the comfort of their garages.

The update addresses many gripes that both the public and press have had with the MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch interface since its launch in 2010. The graphics have undergone a relatively major overhaul with bolder text and a cleaner, more user friendly UI. Just as important, the touchsceen lag we've complained about in the past should be all but eradicated and voice recognition has also improved. No word from Ford on how it's dealt with the intermittent crashes that users have experienced, but we know that it was a top priority for engineers.

Ford's wonks have also added more phone support, Audible audiobook integration, a revamped mapping and navigation system and the ability to link a variety of tablet devices to the Sync platform.

Ford is shipping both a USB flash drive that contains the update and an SD card with all-new mapping data. Ford claims the installation should take around an hour, but if you're hazy on the install process, it can be performed at your local Ford or Lincoln dealer. Make the jump for the official details.
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MyFord Touch Resonates with Buyers; Upgrade Launches on 2013 Ford Taurus, Flex, and for Current Customers

• Ford buyers rank SYNC® and MyFord Touch® among the most appealing features of new Ford vehicles; 56 percent say the technology was an important part of their buying decision
• New owners identify SYNC's voice-recognition capability as a key feature; 77 percent report they use voice commands regularly, and more customers are using other features such as Bluetooth® streaming and the cloud-based network of SYNC Services
• 2013 Ford Taurus and Flex are first two of seven new models launching this year with the faster, simpler and easier-to-use MyFord Touch system
• Ford and Microsoft engineers developed an improved user experience based on feedback from owners, dealers and employees; current MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch- equipped vehicle owners can begin receiving the no-cost software upgrade this week

DEARBORN, Mich., March 5, 2012 – Ford SYNC® and the MyFord Touch® connectivity system are helping drive more than half of new Ford owners to purchase Blue Oval vehicles.

Features of MyFord Touch rank as some of the top purchase reasons for new models, including the Ford Explorer and Edge, which both launched with the system in late 2010. Specifically:

• Customer order rates for MyFord Touch have increased 5 percentage points heading into the new model year for both Explorer and Edge, which were already at 79 and 72 percent, respectively
• 56 percent of buyers said in owner surveys that SYNC and MyFord Touch were important to their purchase decision

Ford continues to migrate MyFord Touch across its product line, including into the new 2013 Ford Flex and Taurus reaching dealer showrooms this spring. At the same time, Ford is launching a significantly upgraded version of MyFord Touch for current owners that Ford and Microsoft engineers developed by listening to owner, dealer and employee feedback.

"It is gratifying to see SYNC and MyFord Touch technology are driving purchase consideration of new Ford cars, utilities and trucks, and helping our vehicles stand out in the marketplace," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president for Ford Global Product Development. "We are committed to continuous improvement of these and other technologies, and to continue delivering even more of the products and technologies people truly want."

Customers are using the technology

Customers don't view this technology as just a checklist item when shopping for a new vehicle; they are actually using it in their new Ford vehicles. A survey of drivers of 2011 and 2012 model SYNC and MyFord Touch-equipped vehicles report 91 percent use of SYNC's hands-free calling capability at least once a month and 62 percent use it on a daily basis. Eighty-five percent use wireless Bluetooth® audio streaming, with nearly half using it every day.

By late 2011, 77 percent of drivers with Ford SYNC said they were regularly using voice commands to operate the system's features – an increase of 14 percent from 2010.

Continuously improving the user experience

As capable and popular as MyFord Touch is now, the flexibility of the underlying SYNC software platform allows for regular updates and upgrades as the technology evolves.

"SYNC has put us in a unique position to change customer expectations for their ownership experience," Kuzak explains. "As we continue to evolve the technology for launch on new products, we will incorporate improvements and new features, listening to owner feedback on a regular basis and offering upgrades to existing customers."

While MyFord Touch has been continuously improved with each successive vehicle launch since 2010, Ford is now launching the first major software upgrade with the 2013 Ford Taurus and Flex.

The touch screen interface has been enhanced with simpler graphics and bolder text that is easier to use. The response time of the touch screen is now much faster so drivers can tap controls and focus on driving. Already popular voice controls now provide even better recognition so drivers can tell their cars what to do, keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

In addition to the simplified interface and faster performance, Ford engineers added new features including better phone compatibility, support for tablet computers and Audible audiobooks, improved navigation maps and destination entry.

The upgraded system will roll out to all new 2013 models that offer MyFord Touch, and the improved software will be offered to more than 300,000 current owners to improve their driving experience even further.

For current customers, Ford will begin mailing out MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch upgrade packages to those in the U.S. this week. The packages will include a USB flash drive with the updated software, a notification letter, detailed instructions for the 60-minute download, and an updated user guide. Navigation-equipped vehicle owners also will receive an updated SD card with all-new, updated map data.

If preferred, customers also can elect to take their vehicle to a Ford or Lincoln dealer for installation of the upgrade.