Ford Edge

Tech early adoption: fun in the living room, but safe in the car?

January 5, 2011: 2:39 PM ET

The new MyFord touch system's best function may be as a warning to other car manufacturers of how not to go about innovating when it comes to high-tech dashboards.

Sync with MyTouch in a Ford

Part of the MyFord Touch system, which also resides on the instrument panel and steering wheel.

Earlier this week, Consumer Reports panned the MyFord Touch system, an optional touch-based user interface featured in revamped models like the Ford Edge and standard in the company's higher-end Limited models. In "Ford's frustrating high-tech controls," the publication takes the carmaker to task. Apparently in its attempt to capitalize on the recent successes of tablets like the iPad and Samsung Tab and integrate a similar user experience into its new vehicles a car, Ford (F) sacrificed some serious usability along the way. Auto manufacturers may want to take note from Ford's trailblazing and learn a lesson many consumer tech companies have already learned – if you're an early adopter, you're going to get burned.

Carmakers have been working towards simplifying car controls for some time now – as resident car expert Alex Taylor III explained in his own hands-on with the Edge, German luxury car makers in particular have toyed with giving in-car instruments more versatility. That's why some knobs pull double, even triple duty: pull them to do one thing, twist it to do another, tilt it for another feature altogether. The problem is that all those extra gestures don't feel the least bit intuitive. More

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