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Ford Dumping Windows For QNX In New Vehicles

Unknown Lamer posted about 10 months ago | from the back-to-the-classics dept.

Operating Systems 314

innocent_white_lamb writes "Ford has announced that their in-vehicle technology called Sync will be based on Blackberry's QNX operating system and will no longer use Microsoft Windows. My own 2013 Ford Escape has the Windows-based Sync system. I wonder if they will issue an update to change it to QNX." Anonymous sources inside Ford cited reliability problems with Windows and lower licensing costs for the switch to the classic realtime OS.

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Having used both (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about 10 months ago | (#46331489)

They made the right decision. QNX is one of the more enjoyable embedded OSes (IMO YMMV of course).

Re:Having used both (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331543)

Why is my mileage going to vary if they switch to QNX? Better navigation package?

Re:Having used both (5, Funny)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about 10 months ago | (#46331645)

Lower power requirements :)

Re:Having used both (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331863)

beta stuxnet compatibility.............

Re:Having used both (1, Offtopic)

mjwx (966435) | about 10 months ago | (#46331571)

They made the right decision. QNX is one of the more enjoyable embedded OSes (IMO YMMV of course).

Having rented a Ford Focus with the 4sp automatic "Sync by Microsoft" gearbox, if they had of punched themselves in the head until their eye fell out they still would have made the right choice.

The gearbox in a recent Focus can only be described as bone jarringly violent. Every time that thing changed gear the selector fork forcibly readjusted my spine whilst moving the cog.

Making a decent 4sp slushbox is so basic. even Great Wall and Tata can do it without screwing it up. The 4sp slushbox in recent Subaru Impreza is fine, why did Ford need to screw it up.

Even Ford's 6sp automatic in the Mustang was horrible. You'd click the plus button (stupidly placed on the gear knob, FFS even a Hyundai has flappy paddles this day and age) and you could go away and make a cup of tea before it realised it was a gearbox and moved a cog. I've never driven an automatic Ford I could call decent, even the much hyped ZF box in the Falcon (Australia only model) was a horror.

Re:Having used both (5, Informative)

certsoft (442059) | about 10 months ago | (#46331589)

The SYNC system has nothing to do with the powertrain. It's only used for infotainment and climate control.

Re:Having used both (2)

mjwx (966435) | about 10 months ago | (#46331783)

The SYNC system has nothing to do with the powertrain. It's only used for infotainment and climate control.

So you're saying it'll still have a shit transmission.

Ford seems to have their priorities seriously screwed up if that is the case. Shouldn't they make sure the powertrain works before working on the infotainment system.

Re:Having used both (4, Funny)

Lisias (447563) | about 10 months ago | (#46331829)

Ford seems to have their priorities seriously screwed up if that is the case. Shouldn't they make sure the powertrain works before working on the infotainment system.

The way I see it, Ford is doing it right. One must be entertained while awaits for rescue when the car bricks in the middle of the road! :-)

Re:Having used both (1)

slackware 3.6 (2524328) | about 10 months ago | (#46332143)

I own 2 Fords and several in the past and evertime I smell smoke its like oh shit. Funny thing is I had 2 Dodges catch on fire while I was driving them.

Re:Having used both (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331621)

The gearbox has nothing to do with the Sync software. What you are talking about there is all ford and changing to QNX for the ENTERTAINMENT system isn't going to make the shitty ford gearboxes better. This is about the in car nav/entertainment/phone system.

Re:Having used both (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331709)

Ford just makes shit transmissions. The one in my V8 Cougar; was garbage. But at least the V8 was sufficiently underpowered to match.

QNX 6 (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331497)

I miss QNX 6, damn you Blackberry!

Ford Explorer (1)

liwee (3407373) | about 10 months ago | (#46331507)

The future of the Ford ... Explorer is black, um ... bleak

Re:Ford Explorer (1)

Dracos (107777) | about 10 months ago | (#46331609)

There's a Firestone joke in there somewhere.

Re:Ford Explorer (5, Funny)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 10 months ago | (#46331755)

Yes, a tired one.

Re:Ford Explorer (0)

poptix (78287) | about 10 months ago | (#46331801)

I see what you did there...

reliability problems?? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#46331519)

Just think of the sales pitch to get people to in install the update now ma you don't want your brakes system to crash so for only $200 we can update your cars software.

Obligatory (5, Funny)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about 10 months ago | (#46331527)

http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/pnw... [harvard.edu]

For all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on. At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue.

For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off."

Re:Obligatory (5, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 10 months ago | (#46331581)

10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off."

Actually, I do press the 'Start' button to turn the engine off on my car. (Nissan Altima with keyless ignition)

Re:Obligatory (5, Funny)

jrumney (197329) | about 10 months ago | (#46331647)

10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off."

Cars do seem to be catching up with Windows on that one at least.

Re:Obligatory (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 10 months ago | (#46332075)

Coincidentally, it's the only thing on the list Microsoft has changed.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332081)

Yes, now that Windows got rid of it. Coincidence? I think not.

Re:Obligatory (2)

BigDXLT (1218924) | about 10 months ago | (#46331661)

I know someone came up with that list to be snarky, but I'm fairly sure I've experienced everything in that list at one point or another with vehicles over the years.

Yup, including pressing the start button to turn the engine off. :/

Re:Obligatory (3, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | about 10 months ago | (#46331761)

6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning light.

It's called the Idiot Light, and has been around for decades.

Re:Obligatory (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 10 months ago | (#46331933)

My Fords have idiot gauges. The '88 introduced the idiot oil gauge as people panicked when the engine was hot and idling and the needle dropped, The '97 idiotized the voltmetre, I guess people also freaked out when, with everything on, at idle the voltage dropped down close to 12 volts. Really useful.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331827)

Even though that is a very tired old joke. What is truly funny is that quite a few of those do apply to cars nowadays, especially GM or Ford ones given there poor reliability. How many recalls we seen in recent years for cars that just stop? my friends car was simply shutting down 4 or 5 times a day due to the dodgy engine management system, my car requires me to press the "start" button to turn the engine off (VW). Then we have the endless list of cars and tire faults that cause anything from random car crashes to the car literally bursting into flames. Microsoft's OS's seem to have advanced significantly in the couple of decades since this joke came out while car technology has gotten high tech and highly unreliable.

So in other words, what they are describing is a: (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 10 months ago | (#46331841)

Ford Motor Car.

Re:Obligatory (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 10 months ago | (#46331851)

Just about all those faults sound pretty standard in most GM cars. If it was ford the list would be even longer. funny how a joke from the 90's has actually turned on its head as tech has advanced, most OS's would be appalled to be as unreliable as most of the shit being churned out from GM or ford today.

MSFT seems to work... (4, Interesting)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 10 months ago | (#46331537)

I rented a Ford Fusion a few months back. The MSFT in-vehicle tech worked perfectly well.

I know it's anecdotal, and I'm all for competition, but I wonder if this was a good decision. When the car company cites licensing costs that can't be much per vehicle as a reason to change a technology, you begin to feel they're cutting corners.

Re:MSFT seems to work... (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#46331603)

I know it's anecdotal, and I'm all for competition, but I wonder if this was a good decision. When the car company cites licensing costs that can't be much per vehicle as a reason to change a technology, you begin to feel they're cutting corners.

Well, did you RTFA? Because that would give you a clue as to the logic behind such a move:

In-vehicle technology is the top selling point for 39 percent of auto buyers, more than twice the 14 percent who say their first consideration is traditional performance measures such as power and speed, according to a study by the consulting firm Accenture released in December.

See, Ford is going to put this sort of system in every car, sooner or later. There's no good excuse not to when you can get a tablet for a hundred bucks retail. Sure, vehicle electronics have higher requirements, make it a hundred bucks cost, a $400 (replacement) module and a $650 option and you're printing money. Cheaper and cheaper cars are now coming with iPod integration, bluetooth and so on, and sooner or later it's going to be every single car. How much do those licensing fees add up to?

Re:MSFT seems to work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331667)

Ford seem to be smarter then some OEMs

3 SYNC. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331657)

I own a '13 Fiesta Titanium edition.

I've had zero problems with SYNC. It handily kicks the crap out of infotainment systems of luxury vehicles that cost several times the cost of my car*. Navigation has been flawless, voice recognition is superb - hell, the thing understands German and Japanese song titles.

(* Granted, said BMWs, Benzes and Infinitis tend to kick the crap out of me at red lights, but I digress.)

In fairness, I heard nothing but horrible, horrible warnings about buying a Ford solely because of SYNC - and as far as I can tell, earlier versions of it did suck large balls. So, QNX - not sure if want. Stuff's working. Stuff's working good. Will it work as well afterward, or do we get to look forward to years of Ford debuggery?

Re:MSFT seems to work... (1)

tji (74570) | about 10 months ago | (#46331843)

I have an aging '08 Ford, and the Sync system is quite impressive. It has good bluetooth integration with smartphones, voice control of everything and works quite well even compared to new systems in cars sold today.

But, not long after the early success, they added more infotainment bells and whistles and started having reliability problems with Sync. This is at the time that they were releasing new models that had really good reliability ratings mechanically, but they were getting dinged badly for the Sync problems. I'm surprised it took them this long to move on to a new partner.

I like QNX, but given all the uncertainty about Blackberry's viability, it's surprising that Ford would choose them as the partner.

Re:MSFT seems to work... HAHA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331961)

Owner of a 2012 Focus and buddy it had alot of problems getting where it's at. They've mitigated many of the race conditions inside it but realize it's built on flash-lite and windows CE automotive by bsquared, some MSTF subsidiary.... there's only so much you can do. I still see buggy behavior from it at least once a week and it is annoying.

Re:MSFT seems to work... (1)

CBravo (35450) | about 10 months ago | (#46331981)

I did the same 2 years ago. It had issues and crashed quite a few times (when using a USB stick). For the rest I am not such a fan of the speach recognition (too slow imo).

Re:MSFT seems to work... (4, Informative)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#46332083)

Costs are almost always a cover reason. It's what you say when you don't want to put out the real reasons.

For example, Ford almost certainly has an ongoing business relationship with MS, for their office PCs, maybe they use Outlook, etc. - they probably don't want to sour that by saying in public that their car-OS is crap.

Tenths of a cent, my friend (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332113)

Carmakers optimize costs at sub-one-cent levels. "Can't be much" is the antithesis of the automotive beancounter mantra.

I'm just scared shitless (2)

aybiss (876862) | about 10 months ago | (#46331553)

that anyone would use Windows for embedded/realtime. Is it easy to discover this for other makes of cars?

Re:I'm just scared shitless (1)

Dracos (107777) | about 10 months ago | (#46331633)

I'm sure I'm not the only person to see a BSOD on the flight arrival/departure screens at an airport.

Re:I'm just scared shitless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331777)

I'm sure I'm not the only person to see a BSOD on the flight arrival/departure screens at an airport.

That's not embedded or mission critical though.

Those screens are just plugged into a standard PC running standard PC app crapware that reads from a database.

Re:I'm just scared shitless (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332043)

I had a flight where the entertainment system displayed RedHat 6.x (old one, not RHEL) boot messages repeatedly for three hours. Very entertaining.

Re:I'm just scared shitless (5, Informative)

aussiedood (577993) | about 10 months ago | (#46331675)

Windows Embedded has powered the ECUs in all Formula 1 cars (arguably the most technologically advanced race cars in the world) since 2008.

Re:I'm just scared shitless (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332031)

Yes, but Formula 1 cars use lots of fragile parts that break all the time during races, quite a few cars every race doesn't make it to the end due to some failure.
One more fragile component doesn't change these statistics much.

Re:I'm just scared shitless (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332053)

The components aren't fragile, but are rather at the extreme end of the performance curve, and with very tight tolerance margins, because building in redundancy and effort has the potential expense of costing them a win.

Re:I'm just scared shitless (1)

confused one (671304) | about 10 months ago | (#46331893)

The Windows Embedded OS used for real-time is not based on the desktop Windows. Its a derivative of the old Windows CE and is a bit more stable.

good thing ford does not make boats (5, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 10 months ago | (#46331555)

Ford has announced that their in-vehicle technology called Sync

Re:good thing ford does not make boats (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 10 months ago | (#46331579)

Ford manufacturing has sunk, at least in Geelong.

Perhaps they're producing a range of hovercraft?

Re:good thing ford does not make boats (3, Funny)

mjwx (966435) | about 10 months ago | (#46332017)

Ford has announced that their in-vehicle technology called Sync

Actually the Australian produced Ford Falcon, handles like a boat.

Don't make a big deal of OS choice in embedded (1)

iamacat (583406) | about 10 months ago | (#46331565)

If all you need is one application, switching OS is not as much of a deal for you or a statement on the underlying platforms than choices of consumers who use at least a dozen of apps. Software development costs are probably a very small part of general Ford R&D costs. If they found a more economical or convenient option, more power to them!

Re:Don't make a big deal of OS choice in embedded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331625)

if all you need is one application? Well if that was the case then why did they not use DOS or a state machine? Sorry but that just seemed a very simplistic veiw of what the in-vehicle systems are. Are you from Ford or Microsoft?

Re:Don't make a big deal of OS choice in embedded (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 10 months ago | (#46331817)

Erm they do only run one application. It has different modules but I'd be surprised if it isn't a single executable.

DOS has shit hardware support. QNX is similar but actively maintained and can handle the graphics and input aspects so Ford doesn't have to write a TCP/IP and touch screen driver from scratch. It is very cheap and light however.

Windows (embedded or not) is quite bloaty and expensive for running one app.

QNX had a demo awhile back. A full GUI OS with web browser that fit and booted from a 1.44mb floppy disk.
Windows 3.11 needed 13 floppies if I remember correctly. That is some perspective for you.

Re:Don't make a big deal of OS choice in embedded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332085)

lol, you gotta wonder about the washed-out lamers posting on this site when they think DOS is a really great development platform.

experience (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331575)

I rented a for focus, and drove it for about 2 months, the MSFT stuff installed in it was a total piece of junk. It would crash, hang,
and reboot in the middle of navigating to the destination, just like a windows PC.

Re:experience (2)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about 10 months ago | (#46331677)

Well, at least it seems like they got the traditional Windows user experience right... they should at least get credit for that. It's nice to know that there is consistency between their products, so you can know what you're getting (into) ahead of time... even if the shared traits are 95% undesirable.

Re:experience (1)

natron3030 (3530211) | about 10 months ago | (#46331833)

That's like blaming Microsoft because you're having problems with Firefox. Sync is an application running on Windows CE, developed by a company other than Microsoft. While QNX is a solid OS, it's not a given the next gen Sync while be any less buggy.

Re:experience (1)

confused one (671304) | about 10 months ago | (#46331903)

When was this? the first version(s) of Sync were buggy. This is where they got the bad reputation in the media. Later versions appear to have most of the kinks worked out and are stable.

Re:experience (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332177)

> the first version(s) of Sync were buggy

No. The Focus I rented in SF in January that the rental company bought new the first week of Dec was not fixed. It still took multiple minutes to change channels on the radio. I spent more time looking at Microsoft ads than I did listening to the radio.

F/OSS Platform Needed (2, Interesting)

ModernGeek (601932) | about 10 months ago | (#46331635)

We need a better F/OSS Platform for this type of development. I would like to see something like GNU/Hurd finally come to fruition and become the one true operating system for embedded devices, upward to desktop/server. With the Mach Kernel, it stands to actually give us a unified kernel that can serve all these purposes without being a giant, sluggish monolithic blob. Once that platform is complete, everyone else can throw their own interfaces and such on top of it.

Android is defective by design, and Ubuntu's solution is right up there with it. QNX is where it's at, but we need a Mach based F/OSS alternative.

Re:F/OSS Platform Needed (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 10 months ago | (#46331693)

i'm excited to see what comes of apples iTunes in the car experience. but it's been in development for so long I wonder if it will ever actually come out?

Re:F/OSS Platform Needed (4, Insightful)

armanox (826486) | about 10 months ago | (#46331699)

And it would never sell. Really what we need is something like iOS/OS X running on it - everyone knows the interface, you don't have to play with it, it doesn't randomly fall over, and the applications are locked down. Android's mistake is being too fragmented - different features by different carriers. I don't see how Ubuntu is defective by design either. Consumers want something that works, and does what they want it to do. They don't care about ideological arguments over licenses.

Re:F/OSS Platform Needed (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#46331877)

It's not so much a matter of ideology, it's more a matter that someone out there knows what sort of onboard software will work well in a car and it is not MS or any of the auto makers. If the system is FOSS, that someone will have a hope to actually create that software. Apple might know how to do it, but the auto makers won't adopt it themselves since it won't match their dane brammaged idea of what it should look like.

Re:F/OSS Platform Needed (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 10 months ago | (#46332051)

And it would never sell. Really what we need is something like iOS/OS X running on it

That is the absolute worst thing that could happen.

Convoluted touch gestures, a pathological hate of physical buttons. What we need to do is detach these horrible touchscreen devices from functions people use often, air conditioners, radio/CD/MP3 players and so forth and move them back to physical controls you can operate without looking at them.. Hell, its even a bad idea having a navigation system that cant be updated by anyone except the cars manufacturer.

Ultimately we need a standard for in car computers, but Ford and GM are dead against this (as are the likes of BMW, MB, VAG over in Europe)* because it takes away the dependence on the dealer/manufacturer network for updates, repairs and replacements because we can simply go out, buy our own and update and service it ourselves... which kills the $150 service charge for doing a simple radio update. Manufacturers cant even keep a standard DIN or Double DIN slot for the radio which is why you need to hunt for third party brackets and wiring looms when replacing a stereo.

But I'm not holding my breath, the US Govt mandated OBDII as a standard interface in cars but even then manufacturers got around this by making their own codes/protocols so you need manufacturer specific software/equipment to understand the data.

And I don't trust Japanese/Asian manufacturers to be any better either, but it's a lot easier to find something that understands Honda or Toyota ECU's (not to mention aftermarket Honda/Toyota ECU's).

As I understand it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332117)

The current iOS UI lifted large swaths of itself directly from QNX -- which is far more stable and secure than iOS. So your wishes have already been granted.

Re:F/OSS Platform Needed (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 10 months ago | (#46331825)

I would like to see something like GNU/Hurd finally come to fruition and become the one true operating system

The OS that's been in alpha status for almost 25 years, and still only supports i386?

That GNU/Hurd?

Re:F/OSS Platform Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332099)

About 20 years ago they were making design decisions for HURD and the conclusion was "DEC Alpha is out now, very soon all CPUs will be 64-bits!" And it still only runs on i386? lol.

Hurd is dead (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 10 months ago | (#46332351)

The only people who don't realise it are its developers. If an OS can't gain traction in a quarter of a century it never will. Also the hype about message passing microkernels died a decade back. They look great on paper but in theory they're slow and inefficient.

"Once that platform is complete, everyone else can throw their own interfaces and such on top of it."

What, you mean just like X Windows?

My eyes... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331641)

It bleeds.

Fuck Beta!

Re:My eyes... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#46331881)

Perhaps you should try propranalol.

That'll fix half of the problem (4, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | about 10 months ago | (#46331673)

QNX is clearly a better choice for a system that should just work, all of the time. However, I doubt it's really all that unreliable, and the bigger problem with Sync is that the UI is horrible, among the worst I've ever seen. I've had a couple of rental cars with it, and the last time Hertz offered me a Ford, I told them I wanted a different car, it's that bad. And the UI isn't Microsoft's fault, I don't think.

So...guess that means... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 10 months ago | (#46331679)

That Blackberry isn't dead right? I get the feeling we're going to see a lot more QNX automotive 'infotanment' systems in the near future, and BB moving from the saturated mobile market to the automarket. If they were ever good at something it was directly specializing to what was demanded of the customer, until they fsk it up.

Re:So...guess that means... (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about 10 months ago | (#46331715)

So it means that the embedded computer system in your car will soon have a physical keyboard....

Cheaper, really? (5, Interesting)

jhol13 (1087781) | about 10 months ago | (#46331703)

I wonder if it is really true. I'd assume that full fledged OS with all the stuff included would be better infotaintment system than QNX.
As I do not know which version of "Windows" they use, suppose they used Android. Now they would get, for free without any development costs or time, bluetooth, wifi, 3G, UI, development tools, etc. The system would work as a bluetooth handsfree[1]. The system would, with a SIM, work as a wifi-hotspot. You would get Google Maps, i.e. navigation. Games from Play store. Etc, for free (or the price of Android if they want maps&play).

With QNX, what do they get?

[1] I assume Android can work as a bluetooth "device", not only as a "host".

Re:Cheaper, really? (4, Interesting)

narcc (412956) | about 10 months ago | (#46331887)

With QNX, what do they get?

All of those things and a superior OS?

Oh, sorry. That's not what you wanted to hear.

Re:Cheaper, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331975)

Well there's definitely truth to riding on google's coattails and the app ecosystem, the rest they've probably gotten good experience with thru blackberry. How many of those do they really need for the car's infotainment system though? There would need to be speciation and safety kept in mind. Also android likes taking going out to lunch even on rediculously powerful phones... QNX stays pretty attentive while on duty.

Re:Cheaper, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331889)

As I do not know which version of "Windows" they use

I do not know anything about embedded systems.

FTFY

Re:Cheaper, really? (1)

confused one (671304) | about 10 months ago | (#46331979)

OK, you're clearly not familiar with the product. Sync with My Touch uses a version of Windows Embedded based on the old Windows CE.

It already does work as Bluetooth hands free using a cell phone as a host. Sync connects seamlessly with my Android based phone every time I get into the car. It will read your text messages to you as they come through if you set that option (it's not the default)

It will accept a USB based cell modem if you don't want to use the phone. It already works as a wifi-hotspot with a host cell phone or the modem.

They offer it with a nav system option (although I chose not to pay for that option) and the nav. system is superior to Google Nav. Optionally you can use the Sync app via your phone to upload destination points and get turn by turn directions, even if you don't pay for the nav. option. I.E. not paying for the nav option basically means you're not paying for a local (in the car) copy of the map database.

Not having access to the Play Store is no loss because (a) you shouldn't be playing games on the center console while driving and (b) loading 3rd party apps is both a security risk and risks making the system unstable.

Finally... Android is not free. Yes, you or I can download the system and build a working image. I'm running Cyanogenmod on an old Galaxy S v1. However, some of the software is encumbered and if you're a corporation there are license fees. It's cheap, not free. Of course, Windows CE isn't very expensive either.

Re:Cheaper, really? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 10 months ago | (#46332011)

With QNX, what do they get?

You should have started there and ended with this [lmgtfy.com] . Seriously, QNX is probably more flexible than Android.....you can use QT, or HTML5 or other GUI toolkits, for example. It has bluetooth, wifi, 3G, quality development tools....really, do some research before posting things.

Re:Cheaper, really? (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | about 10 months ago | (#46332121)

Sure QNX is more flexible. And certainly more suited to motor control.
But my point is Android is more powerfull, and "cheap enough" for infotaintment. Paying something like $10[1] for Android (including HW) is cheaper than developing a simple UI, unless the car is assumed to sell tens of millions.

Last time I checked a commercial RTOS prices they were really huge and every single extra (audio, video, bluetooth, wifi, TCP/IP, ...) would cost more. Even then, if you would like something like wifi-hotspot it seemed you'd have to buy it from 3rd party or develop it.

[1] For example AliExpress has RK3066 sticks for around $20 - single quantity. Although it is low end and a bit outdated, it is capable of HD video.

Re:Cheaper, really? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 10 months ago | (#46332169)

But my point is Android is more powerfull, and "cheap enough" for infotaintment.

I'm really interested in what you mean by powerfull.

Re:Cheaper, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332067)

QNX is already used for a lot of the embedded power train management in automotive, my guess is that they are trying to cut developer expenditures by having the same OS for everything.

Daniel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332077)

There are a couple of things you forget:
They aren't using the full fledged Windows OS, but Windows Embedded. A bare-bone OS which is used in lots of things like cash registers, cars, factories. It is very stable and hardly compareble to the Windows you are using on a PC.

Android might look free, but it isn't. It still needs a lot of customizing by the car producer to make it "safe". Also, you might be able to download Google apps for free, but if an enterprise wants to use them, they need to pay for it.

QNX, what do they get? A rather mature ecosystem, used by multiple car companies, that have developed lots of applications for it.

Re:Cheaper, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332145)

> As I do not know which version of "Windows" they use,

Windows CE of some kind.

> suppose they used Android. Now they would get, for free without any development costs or time, bluetooth, wifi, 3G, UI, development tools, etc.

But not the support which is what they will be really paying for.
Nor the real time-y-ness, but I've no idea if they care for that.

> You would get Google Maps, i.e. navigation. Games from Play store.

Would you put games on a car dashboard? I would not.

> free (or the price of Android if they want maps&play)

so not free then.

better (1)

l3v1 (787564) | about 10 months ago | (#46331717)

" cited reliability problems with Windows and lower licensing costs for the switch to the classic realtime OS"

Just say it, there's no shame in it: qnx is better. I'd welcome the change even if it were more expensive.

Hope there's an upgrade (2)

sobiloff (29859) | about 10 months ago | (#46331733)

I have SYNC in my 2013 F-250 and it blows. It keeps trying to re-index my SD card, so I can rarely use the voice commands to play music from it, and sometimes it'll switch by itself from playing SiriusXM to playing the SD card. It's also slow to respond sometimes (probably an artifact of it trying to re-index the SD card), and the UI to select music from the SD card is cumbersome.

I guess most of my gripes are about the SD card functionality; the rest of the functionality seems to work OK when it isn't being screwed over by the SD card, but again I find the interface cumbersome to use. For example, scrolling through the SiriusXM stations takes way too many taps.

My hope is that QNX, given its history as an RTOS, will be more responsive and robust. It might even give the developers a chance to improve the UI.

Re:Hope there's an upgrade (1)

rk (6314) | about 10 months ago | (#46331779)

I think they must have fucked up Sync at some point because I hear this from people with newer Fords but I had a 2010 Fusion Hybrid for two years and Sync worked pretty much perfectly in that thing.

Re:Hope there's an upgrade (1)

natron3030 (3530211) | about 10 months ago | (#46331785)

Have you tried updating the software since purchasing your truck? The Sync version that shipped with your vehicle was loaded with errors, but a significant suite of updates squashed a lot of bugs, possibly even the one you're experiencing.

Re:Hope there's an upgrade (1)

confused one (671304) | about 10 months ago | (#46331995)

I'll second this. While the UI isn't the best design in the world, my updated 2014 doesn't exhibit the issues the parent poster is describing.

Sync was so bad.... (4, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 10 months ago | (#46331737)

Sync was so bad that I wouldn't buy a Ford. I rented a handful of 2013 model Fords with the Sync system. I had an iPhone 3GS and an iPhone 4. The stupid Sync system was a huge battle. Syncing just wasn't a clean process. It did work but smooth as silk is not how I would describe it. But then it got worse. It asked if I would like to set up the emergency something. I presume this was an automated 911 call if I crashed. Well actually no I don't want the computer calling the police; I'll make phone calls of that nature thank you very much. And in today's world it is unlikely that if I were to crash that there aren't 200 people with cellphones that will call anyway. But lastly the system was so crappy I doubt that it would call 911 but would call 912 or 999 thinking that we were in the UK.

But you are probably thinking no big deal opt out and you are fine. But nope after opting out, every time the stupid car started a woman's voice would blah blah about the emergency system not being activated. I looked in the manual and found no solution, so I went on the net and found no solution. So there is no way on earth that I would buy a Ford. Plus my sister had minor damage (but enough to partially disable the car) in a recent model fusion hybrid that took nearly 5 months to get the parts in. So she was out a near new car for 5 months; the whole point of buying a new car vs nursing a 10 year old car along is that the new car saves you the stress of breakdowns and any maintenance issues that cost anything or at least are hard.

But now Ford is leaving the abusive relationship they no doubt enjoyed with Microsoft and now they are getting into bed with the $2 whore that they found in a Ottawa brothel. I couldn't think of a technology company (after leaving microsoft) that I would rather partner with less than Blackberry. I fought with their stupid Playbook tablet and I have watched people fight with their stupid new QNX phones. I know people who are long term BB customers (often via work) who deeply resent the latest models. So why would you pick a company that is on the rocks and that people respect less than the aforementioned $2 whore?

But oddly enough the main reason that I think that QNX is a complete bowl of stupid is that I have known exactly one programmer who loved QNX and he was a useless tool. Actually worse than a useless tool; he was one of those developers that management thinks is a rocket surgeon but all he does is make things way worse. So if he tells you to cut the blue wire, not only should you not cut the blue wire but you should assume that cutting any wires is probably the exact wrong thing to do. So keep in mind that this tool probably thinks that QNX in a Ford is a cool idea.

Re:Sync was so bad.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331895)

The Sync software itself is incredibly buggy with a really really really bad UI. Most likely the development team there are using MS as an easy scapegoat for the shit that they churned out and a swap to QNX will give them an added excuse for more time to fix the shit they created.

Re:Sync was so bad.... (2)

narcc (412956) | about 10 months ago | (#46331927)

I fought with their stupid Playbook tablet and I have watched people fight with their stupid new QNX phones. I know people who are long term BB customers (often via work) who deeply resent the latest models.

Odd, my experience has been completely different. My wife loves her PlayBook and Z10. Everyone I've shown either device to has been impressed. The slick UI, solid hardware, and fantastic dev tools ... I don't know what anyone could possibly complain about!

But oddly enough the main reason that I think that QNX is a complete bowl of stupid is that I have known exactly one programmer who loved QNX and he was a useless tool.

Consensus on Slashdot is meaningless, I know, but the sentiment here is quite clear: QNX is an excellent OS. What, specifically, do you dislike about it?

Re:Sync was so bad.... (2)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 10 months ago | (#46332059)

I'm not joking when I say that I don't like QNX because a guy I worked with who was a mega tool loved it so much. Basically he was exactly wrong about everything. His entire life is a logical not.

To give an example, Nortel hired him so I told people who were invested in Nortel that they needed to sell their shares immediately (which all but one did, also not insider information as he posted this on his personal website). Any hiring process that didn't screen out this living parasite of oxygen was a deeply flawed process. Within maybe 3 months Nortel was in serious trouble. This guy later became a blackberry server expert; a sure sign that blackberry (riding high at the time) was in serious trouble.

So it might seem petty of me to not even look at QNX but it just that this guy is has a near superpower for getting involved with the exact wrong solution just before it explodes or is just always has been wrong.

But to be more analytical, Blackberry has always made fairly good technological things but they seem to focus on the wrong things. Their products, for instance, seem to have been built to please the telcos and big companies. This might seem like good business on the surface but the reality is that they are now selling well under 1% in the US. Without focusing on the consumer they were damaged by the first company that really did (Apple) and then finished off by all the subsequent companies(Samsung, HTC, etc) that realized that apple's customer focus was a good idea worth emulating. So I can envision a Ford computer system that when demonstrated will potentially rock our boats and the press will write things like "redefines the car computer interface." but once the reviewers get their own hands on it the lines will be more like "Takes the worst aspects of the iDrive and mixes in the worst aspects of Tuberculous."

On top of all that will Ford be able to keep Blackberry from taking one more kick at the can and somehow favour Blackberry phones as it seemed the early Sync system favoured Microsoft phones?

A great measure of the Playbook's true rating (in that people are still religeous about their RIM crap) is that one group found that almost zero people switch from a modern tablet to the playbook and those who did went back. And that everyone who switches from the playbook to another tablet stays away from RIM. The same with BB phones. This is well evidenced by their market share. I suspect that there will be a goodly number of diehards who will have to have their BBs pried from their dead cold hands but why would Ford think that such a tarnished brand is something they should associate themselves with?

So does this mean I can hack it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331739)

If I can turn off the data recording we're in business.

Dupe (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 10 months ago | (#46331871)

Now I'm getting duped from Soylentnews [soylentnews.org] .

It's going to be hard to keep this shit straight.

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332159)

Drop soylentnews.

#LOVEBETA

Windows? (3, Interesting)

xfizik (3491039) | about 10 months ago | (#46331899)

Who was the genius that decided to go with Windows to begin with? Don't get me wrong, Windows is fine on desktops (traditionally) and servers (more recently), but using it for essentially embedded development would be my very last choice.

Re:Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332129)

Windows ce was never considered fine for a desktop. You know that's what Windows at issue right?

Re:Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332173)

Win CE is acceptable and you can make use of cheap Windows (desktop) developers.

I have a 2013 Ford Fusion with the SYNC system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46331915)

While it's a neat advancement for integrated media systems, it's full of bugs that have not YET been fixed.
1. About 30% of the time, when starting the car it reverts to the radio tuner instead of the USB music source. VERY ANNOYING!
2. Several times it has started the SYNC system with an announcement that "indexes are full, some music may not be available". Then, having done nothing to remedy the situation, next time I start the system, the announcement is gone.
3. The speech recognition system is very clunky when it misinterprets your voice command. Instead of asking you to repeat, it drones on saying "say 1 if you meant this, say 2 if you meant that, say 3 if you meant the other, say 4 if you wanted something that doesn't even remotely sound similar".
4. Don't you dare try interrupting the SYNC system while it's droning on in step 3, or you will only dig yourself deeper.
5. The display will give you song name and artist, but isn't sophisticated enough to shrink the font or scroll the line for song names that don't fit.
6. The vehicle won't recognize the word Eminem, so you have to either setup a custom playlist with those songs or change all of your MP3 song name tags to Slim Shady.

I hope the fix the other problems. (1)

BLToday (1777712) | about 10 months ago | (#46332007)

I rented a Ford Taurus and I hated SYNC. It was slow, counterintuitive, and the screen was low-res.

QNX KIX ASS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46332239)

If only it mattered !!

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