Before the official start of CES 2016, Ford announced support for Android Auto in their upcoming vehicle portfolio, and we are here, speaking with Mike Lambert, a Mobile Navigation Engineer at Ford, to see exactly what that entails. Let’s take a look!
Ford already has an in-built infotainment system in place, called Sync 3, that is available with select 2016 models and all upcoming 2017 vehicles, starting with the 2017 edition Ford Escape seen in the video above. But the exciting news is that Android Auto is now going to be integrated into this system. All you need to do is plug in your Android smartphone or tablet running Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher, and the Android Auto interface will automatically launch on the dashboard display.
What that brings to your driving experience is everything that is available with Android Auto, including access to Google Maps, key information like missed calls, messages, and weather, and Google Play Music, and any third party media applications you may have downloaded from the Google Play Store that support Android Auto will also show up.
What Ford is doing different is with regards to the integration with their Sync 3 platform. For starters, in the case of any previous Sync 3 features that become redundant with the availability of Android Auto, the Android features are now given preference in the Sync 3 user interface. So any customers that have chosen Android Auto and its various features, can still retain access to other aspects like native audio systems, FM Radio, Satellite Radio, climate features, and more. The Sync 3 UI also comes with any easy way to jump right back into Android Auto, and vice versa, making for a seamless transition between the two.
The idea is to create a system that is intuitive and easy to use for the customer, while giving them the choice about what platform they are most comfortable with. Of course, as far as connected experiences go, Ford isn’t limiting choice to just Android Auto either, and support is available Apple CarPlay and App Link, that is Ford’s take on providing connected applications in their cars, as well.
As mentioned, Android Auto support will be available with all 2017 Ford and Lincoln models that come with Sync 3, and the good news is that customers that have bought or will buy 2016 editions with Sync 3 will also receive an update in the future that brings Android Auto into the mix.
So there you have it for this quick look at Android Auto in Ford cars! More and more car manufacturers are jumping on the Android Auto bandwagon, and it is great to see Ford join the fray with their seamless integration of Android Auto and their own Sync 3 platform.
Stay tuned with Android Authority as we continue to bring you more great hands on coverage from CES 2016.