Sources Say Ford to Use Windows 8, Metro UI - Windows 8 "Customer Preview" Coming in June - DailyTech.com
Jason Mick (Blog) - April 24, 2012 11:01 AM
. . . Our sources close to Ford Motor Comp. (F) recently indicated that a Windows 8 variant will likely drive the next generation successor to MyFord Touch.
This is an interesting, but not altogether unexpected development. Microsoft has long produced the OS used by Ford -- Windows Embedded Automotive, and the latest version (v7), was built on a trimmed down version of Windows 7.
But the information is also interesting because of the highlighted implications for Ford, and the industry in general.
Windows 8 in many ways represents a solution to many of Ford's headaches. While Ford is undeniably the leader in automotive infotainment with the most features and the most cohesive user interface, it also has suffered from growing pains. As the feature set grew, Ford has been compelled to contract out user interface development to third-party partners at times, and has found those partners to not always produce work of the same high quality as Ford's.
The perfect example of where third-party software burned Ford is the early versions of MyFord Touch which suffered speed and stability issues, issues reportedly (according to my past sources) largely attributable to third party code. The issues were finally addressed when Ford essentially redid its partner's work, revamping the OS and committing to a costly internal rewrite.
The answer to Ford's frustration is Windows 8. The Metro UI is seemingly a perfect fit for a next generation Ford infotainment system. In terms of current products, it will be kind of like Windows Phone on your car. With its built-in XAML/C# (and possibly Silverlight although Microsoft is shifting towards HTML5) APIs, Microsoft has taken a lot of the grunt work out of UI graphics/coding/design and multi-touch support for Ford.
If you want to imagine a next generation Ford OS simply think of a Windows 8 tablet or Windows Phone embedded in the dash with MyFord Touch-like menu options and a customized Metro UI tile-based interface.
For all the Windows 8 skepticism Ford sounds like it is solidly in the believers camp.