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Sunday, February 05, 2012

NAIAS Detroit Auto Show 2012: Part 4, CUE, Uconnect Take On Sync

Ford got everyone's attention when they rolled out their much loved (and much hated) infotainment system, Sync.  Now, GM and Chrysler are taking on MyFord Touch with their own touchscreen user interfaces.  I got a quick tour of the Cadillac CUE system and Dode Uconnect.

Product specialist Rosemary gave me an interactive tour of Cadillac's upcoming CUE system. It was responsive, with quick reactions to user requests. It has a nice haptic feedback feature, where the screen taps back at you when you touch a selection. This is very useful, because it helps you know that you actually touched something. CUE is also highly customizable. The user can pick his favorite buttons and drag them to the shortcut row, at the top of the screen. You can also choose a number of different display formats for the instrument cluster, which is one huge LCD screen. When you aren't interacting with it, the shortcut bar and bottom bar of icons fade away. If you reach your hand towards the screen, the extra information fades in again, offering the user an uncluttered view most of the time.

Cadillac's CUE system.

Rosemary shows me how the custom IP displays work

The sport setting shows a tachometer to the left, and on the right you can have a minature navigation view in the center of the speedometer.

Another custom view for the IP, this one just shows a large digital speedometer in the middle, with entertainment and navigation items.

 At the Dodge Dart display, I had a chance to play with Chrysler's Uconnect system. Similar to GM, it was responsive and fairly simple to use, but it didn't seem to have as many customization options as CUE. It also didn't have the haptic feedback feature.

Uconnect has a small square central LCD screen on the IP.

Uconnect has a few large icons arranged at the bottom of the screen.

Both Uconnect and CUE are going to give MyFord Touch/Sync strong competition, unless Ford steps up their game.  Ford says that a new and much improved version of MyFord Touch will appear early this year, with better latency, fewer bugs and an easier to read layout.  I hope that this is as promised, because GM and Chrysler are learning from Ford's mistakes.

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