The battle for control of automobile infotainment systems is still in its earliest days, but with the entry of tech giants Google and Apple last year, the fight has only begun to intensify. Several automakers have already aligned with one, the other, or both in-car infotainment systems that link smartphones with your vehicle, though Ford remained one of the major holdouts.
That changes with the announcement that beginning in 2016, SYNC 3-equipped Ford and Lincoln vehicles will be able to connect owner’s smartphones with the Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Ford is also adding new app connectivity to SYNC 3, and will begin including a 4G LTE connection between the vehicle and smartphone that lets users start their cars, unlock doors, check fuel levels, and even locate your ride in a parking lot. Neat.
Apple Carplay and Android Auto let their respective users connect the smartphone with the vehicle, enabling easier access to text messages, phone calls, maps, music, and search engine functions through voice command. While SYNC 3 could already handle many of those features, some people would rather trust Google and Apple to make things work smoothly. Given that Ford’s SYNC system has had its fair share of complaints from frustrated customers, it’s undoubtedly a wise choice to give people the option of trusting their preferred tech company instead.
There’s another story here though, and that’s the battle between Google and Apple for control of your dashboard. American car sales are expected to reach record highs this year, and the rest of the world is buying up new vehicles at record-breaking levels too. We’re still at the genesis of car and smartphone integration, but already the market is valued at over $43 billion. By 2020, Ford alone is predicting 43 million SYNC-equipped cars will be on the road.