Ford Designer Gary Braddock Gives One-on-One About MyFord Touch
Ford has had a sure grasp of the in-car multimedia interface market since Sync's introduction five years ago. Many manufacturers have been trying desperately to emulate it, but none have yet Ford any stiff competition. As you may already know by now, the Blue Oval has just introduced a new multimedia system called the MyFord Touch which builds upon the sturdy foundation successfully laid down by the original Sync. Simply put, even in pre-production form, MyFord Touch appears to be enough to keep Dearborn as the top dog in the multimedia connectivity segment -- for the time being, that is.
As Ford chief interior designer Gary Braddock explained to us, in order to improve on Sync, his design first team went on a worldwide quest to re-investigate what current consumers wanted in an all encompassing multimedia system. They interviewed thousands of consumers, sifting out the most widely used functions, needs, and desires.
"We knew we had to create something that would allow Sync to grow," Braddock said. "Something that was organized, clear, and easy to understand."
So the Sync development team created the four-corner touch screen menu with color-coded Phone, Audio, Climate, and Vehicle controls. They also relied heavily on revised voice recognition technologies.
Braddock pointed out that MyFord's four corner tabs will play a big role in continuing the globalization of the brand. Ford customers around the world will not only recognize MyFord, they'll know how to use it, no matter what vehicle it is installed in.
Not all menus, though, are as strictly assigned as the four corners -- users can customize other controls to complete their most common tasks. Smaller screens too can be personalized. A more performance-oriented customer, for example, can leave the digital tachometer on the left next to the analog speedometer. Conversely, a young technophile more concerned with what's bumping through their optional Sony speaker system can have their songs listed in the same place. Simply depress the left steering wheel toggle to the appropriate menu and all is ready to go.
"It's amazing. Nowadays some of our young buyers don't even know what a tachometer is," Braddock said with a chuckle.
To keep the system fresh and cool looking, designers turned to a variety of consumer media devices, Web sites, major motion pictures, and other popular modern mediums. Braddock calls the MyFord center console a "pure design" that appeals to every type of eye. Our 2011 Ford Edge mockup utilized the MyFord Touch system co-designed with longtime partner Sony. "It had to be distinctly Sony, not just something we slapped a Sony badge onto." Indeed, the whole system is clean, unoffending, and very, dare we say, futuristic.
Screen touch sensitivity is the best we've tested yet in a vehicle. Move down to the center stack and much the same can be said for the physical climate control buttons. Each only takes one light touch to activate. We quickly noticed all of the screens' sharp clarity and precise coloring. The MyFord Touch is anything but confusing to figure out, even to first time users like us. It's vastly intuitive.
Pandora, one of Ford's newest announced application partnerships, worked seamlessly. Thumb up your favorite songs vocally or by using a dedicated screen button. Like most other applications that are due to arrive soon, Pandora looks as though it pulled straight off a home computer screen. Though we didn't get a chance to try it here at CES, another new application -- Send to Sync with Mapquest -- has the potential save millions of minutes and thousands of reams of printed paper.
It's amazing to realize that such advanced technology will become available on all Ford products in such a short period of time. Bringing what was once reserved for the privileged to the masses is an impressive feat. Mix in the ability for users to employ almost any of their mobile device's applications safely while on the road and MyFord Touch with Sync will continue its automotive multimedia reign.
As to what is next for Sync and Ford, Braddock wouldn't budge, but he did tell us watch out for a "cool reveal" in Detroit next week, so stay tuned to TT Online for the full scoop.