It looks like Ford’s offer to update 2016 vehicles equipped with its SYNC 3 infotainment system with free Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity has a lot to do with some recent hires.
The automaker has announced it will allow owners of one-year-old vehicles to install the feature, which comes standard on all 2017 models, at no cost. The offer positions Ford near the cutting edge in automotive technology. For a company seeking a starring role in the tech-heavy mobility realm, this is exactly where it wants to be.
Ford says owners can add the newfound connectivity to their vehicles in a number of ways. The over-the-air update via Wi-Fi is a first for the company, but owners can also choose to download the SYNC 3 version 2.2 update to a USB or simply visit their dealer.
For 2016 Fords with Wi-Fi, owners will need to ensure their SYNC 3’s Automatic System Updates is turned on before the upgrade can download (which it will by itself).
The ability to offer the upgrade stems from the recent hiring of 400 mostly former Blackberry employees, Ford told TechCrunch. Those employees, brought on to staff the automaker’s new Research and Engineering Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, already have extensive knowledge of the QNX operating system behind the SYNC 3 system.
As the center ramps up its operations, expect other high-tech options to be made available to owners. TechCrunch notes that while the upgrade represents a new level of gee-whiz gizmology for Ford, it isn’t completely seamless. To installÂ CarPlay, users must first upgrade the vehicle’s USB hub â€” something requiring a dealer visit.[Image: Ford Motor Company]