Toyota & Lexus Look to Ford for Infotainment Solution

Lexus Ford Partnership

Toyota and Ford are exploring a collaboration in regards to smartphone vehicle intergration, using Ford’s SmartDeviceLink (SDL) technology.

SDL is an open-source platform that bridges smartphone apps and in-car infotainment, similar to the CarPlay and Android Auto systems recently introduced by Apple and Google — from Craig Trudell at Bloomberg:

By exploring a collaboration, Toyota and Ford are showing caution against letting Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto dictate the future of in-car entertainment and navigation systems. Dashboards have become a battleground for carmakers as they seek to attract younger customers who demand connectivity features in their rides.

“They’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears and a lot of r&d resources into developing their own systems, so how can you then say, ‘OK, Google and Apple, come in and take over?’” said Mark Boyadjis, an analyst for IHS Automotive. “The car companies need to be very shrewd with how they integrate things like CarPlay and Android Auto.”

(There’s ample room for negativity with this news, but it’s also worth pointing out that the addition of this new technology does not necessarily mean the subtraction of the Apple & Google systems — all three systems can co-exist on the same system.)

Information from Bloomberg & Toyota

  • P
  • June 4, 2015
Oh really? The MyLink is a disaster, it's extremly cumbersome to use and frustrating. Why don't Toyota collaborate with Sony, or Panasonic, to solve this problem? Frankly, i love the plush ride of a Lexus, but its infotainment system, especially on the LX570, looks outdated and really complicatied. But at least, it's far better than the CUE and Jaguar Land Rover's system.
  • V
  • June 4, 2015
Why do car companies insist of thinking they can write better software than software companies?! Classic case in point was the BMW i3 that wasn't even using a secure channel for communication.
  • D
  • June 4, 2015
The quicker a car company can integrate someone's smart phone into their media system, the better. I don't think Toyota needs to team up with Ford, but with some software technology companies, like Google. It would be a dream to use apps that are on my phone in my car's electronic system. Waze would be my GPS (no more buying expensive updated maps, lets me know Police are ahead, better traffic). Google would be my choice for search engine. No expensive upgrade to have SiriusXM in your car, when you can get the App. The idea is to have the apps YOU like to use, and not to be limited. Maybe Lexus needs to team up with Samsung, LG, or someone, put out a smart phone or tablet, and have seamless integration. Get emails or text when maintenance is required, the key fob can be your phone, turns on bluetooth when detected inside the car, be able to adjust the thermostat at your house from inside your vehicle's system, etc.... Right now, I roll around with my Tablet sitting in front of the Lexus system, hooked up via bluetooth. The only thing that I need the Lexus system for is climate controls and maintenance items. If I had those 2 integrated in my tablet, ........ Have the speech recognition able to send text messages, if you had a HUD it could read you text messages or subjects of an email. Then, you open up highly skilled app developers to come in and invent, create, push the limits. Just my two cents.
So Lexus wanted something more reliable by avoiding Android Auto and Apple CarPlay by going to Ford's system that ruined Ford's quality ratings... One of those absurd things that corporate Lexus does.
  • C
  • June 5, 2015
Although I'm a Microsoft fan, I wasn't a fan of the My Touch when I had a rental on a recent business trip. It's laggy and unresponsive at times. Not sure if the new gen will have MS bones but it better be rock solid to be Lexus (or Toyota)-worthy.
  • J
  • June 6, 2015
This is the biggest mistake that Toyota is making. This was the same mistake Nokia did and they went out of the mobile phone business. They bet on Microsoft's small and relative unknown Windows Mobile solution. Where are they now. It is simple things like car info-system that are going to change the world. Please Toyota already the Kia's and Hundiah's are giving u a hard time. Android and iOS devices are everywhere in the world, why make a decision to alienate yourself. Be careful of your advices, they would lead you to doom.
  • M
    Mohammed Taha
  • June 7, 2015
Although I agree with most of you, it's easier for a car manufacturer to go with Google or Apple but you are forgetting one of the most important aspects; integration with the car. Apple and Google can provide, maps, apps and a few other fancy things but when it comes down to accessing and integrating with the car, none of the two will go that deep. Most android phones/tablets are a copy of each other with minor differences. Most of the differences are cosmetic but the internal are almost the same. So would you want your Lexus's internals to become more like other cars or one where the platform is open source? Open source means that they can collaborate during R&D, understand the intricacies of the platform, which is essentially a media engine, but operate independently. Finally, did any of you actually Google SDL? SDL officially supports Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android. Support for other platforms may be found in the source code.
So did Toyota HQ spend time in Ford's equipped with their infortainment system and was like "Presto! This is the system we want!" Jesus LORD! smh.... I've gotten their rental a few times this past two years and the only thing pleasurable was the USB connection to my iPhone. Horrible, laggy, dumb UI.