About a year ago, Ford's involvement with Android Auto was shrouded in mystery, with no public announcements regarding the platform's inclusion in future models to be found. However, Ford has slowly but surely got onboard with Android Auto, and at CES 2016, the carmaker unveiled the 2017 Ford Escape with Android Auto support. Fast forward to the present day and Ford has now confirmed that all of its 2017 models supporting SYNC 3 will be ready for both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
As some readers might know, Ford is bringing Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay to its vehicles through its proprietary SYNC 3 entertainment system. Starting with the 2017 models, every Ford vehicle that comes with SYNC 3 (including SUVs, light trucks, and even "electrified vehicles") will also be compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This means that the currently available 2017 models including the Ford Escape, Explorer, Fusion, and Mustang, can all enjoy Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support. Additionally, Ford has announced that the upcoming Ford F-150, Focus, Edge, and the 2017 Super Duty will adopt Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as long as they are equipped with the SYNC 3 platform. According to Jeffrey Hannah, Director of North America for global automotive technology consultancy and research firm SBD, "Ford is not taking the traditional approach of introducing Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto on a few piecemeal models or as an expensive option […]. The guesswork for consumers is over". In other words, any 2017 Ford vehicle equipped with SYNC 3 will offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support by default. Furthermore, Ford claims that its "platform focused approach to SYNC 3" will allow for "fast rollout across all vehicles" and "rapid deployment of new innovations via Wi-Fi over-the-air updates".
Android Auto is compatible with any smartphone running Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher. Once a smartphone is connected to the vehicle, drivers will have access to apps and services such as Google Maps, directly from the car's dashboard screen and the steering wheel controls. The system also allows for voice commands, and can be used for hands-free calling and messaging. Today's official announcement was accompanied by a short presentation video for SYNC 3, which can be viewed below.