In-car entertainment and information is finally getting with the program. Ford has just announced performance upgrades and new features for MyFord Touch beginning with 2013 models, but perhaps more importantly, no-charge upgrade will be available to existing owners. The new system will feature simpler graphics that are easier to use and that's exactly what Ford plans to deliver with a broad set of performance upgrades to the system – launching first on the new 2013 Ford Escape, Flex, and Taurus.
Available early next year – and also offered at no charge to existing MyFord Touch owners – the software upgrade enhances the ownership experience as it was developed by listening and responding to customer feedback. The new touch-screen interface features new simpler graphics and controls that are easier to use. Customers will also experience significantly faster touch-screen response times, one of the top requests from owners. New features include support for tablet devices and Audible.com audiobooks, improved navigation maps and enhanced voice recognition interaction. The visual enhancements to MyFord Touch are based on simplifying the graphics with larger, bolder fonts, removing low-priority visual content, and designing screens based on a consistent pattern. More than 1,000 screens in total have been updated with the improved look.
The new fonts are as much as 40 percent larger on redesigned screens. The fonts also are wider and bolder to provide easier legibility, particularly among the rapidly increasing number of drivers age 60 and older. Ford also took the opportunity to update the performance of the system and add new features for customers to help them keep pace with the fast-moving consumer electronics market. Faster touch-screen response time, for example, was a key request from owners. Initial testing shows that touch and voice response is at least two times faster than the current system. Users can also expect improved voice recognition, voice commands used in conjunction with navigation are simplified through elimination of the need to provide street direction, e.g., "Main Street" instead of "North Main Street" and music requests are simpler by removing the need to include the additional song, album or artist information often found at the end of a name in (parenthesis) or [brackets].
So, how long until auto-drive, again?