By on May 27, 2013


The UConnect system used on everything from Jeep Grand Cherokee to the Dodge Dart to the Chrysler 300, is one of the better infotainment systems on the market. But the 8.4 inch screen is getting a companion with a smaller 5-inch screen, that will run on an entirely different operating system.

Dubbed UConnect 5.0, the Microsoft-based system system uses a 5 inch screen that can support multiple devices like tablets and media players. Like UConnect, it will also support navigation, but it will use a TomTom system rather than the Garmin software used in the larger UConnect.

The smaller UConnect has been installed on the Fiat 500L in Europe since last year, but Automotive News reports that it will now be installed on lower trim levels of the Ram 1500. Microsoft is claiming that further vehicles will receive the system, but Chrysler has declined to comment on the matter. Having enjoyed largely positive press regarding UConnect, Chrysler could be putting itself in a tough spot if the Micrsoft based system doesn’t live up to the same standards as its QNX-based big brother.

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19 Comments on “Chrysler Adding Microsoft-Based Infotainment System To UConnect Range...”

  • avatar

    UCONNECT TOUCH 8.4N is THE BEST infotainment system on the market. Nothing else offers the ease of use, the connectivity, and the system redundancy that Uconnect has.

    The voice command works very well.
    The steering controls are easy to use.
    The radio volume and tune knobs are easy to use if you choose not to touch the screen.

    If there’s one complaint I have it’s that the heated/cooled seat options aren’t on the doors, or the center console. I don’t like the idea of having to touch the screen to turn my heated seats on when I’ve just finished cleaning slush off the car and my hands are wet and numb. Nor do I like the idea of having a steering wheel heating button not on the wheel column itself.

    • 0 avatar

      “If there’s one complaint I have it’s that the heated/cooled seat options aren’t on the doors, or the center console.”

      I agree, that’s my only complaint with the system layout. When getting in, the welcome screen has the climate controlled seat buttons automatically displayed, but under normal driving, you have to flip through one other menu to get to the features. I don’t lose my mind over it, but feel that could be laid out better.

      Other than that, coming from working with My Ford Touch constantly, the 8.4 UConnect has restored my faith in in-car connectivity and multimedia.

    • 0 avatar

      “I don’t like the idea of having to touch the screen to turn my heated seats on when I’ve just finished cleaning slush off the car and my hands are wet and numb. ”

      Can’t you set the seat and steering heat to turn on automatically based on the temp? I had a 300 rental at various times and it seemed like the default was to be on when it was cold. Or, that could be a setting based on using remote start…

    • 0 avatar

      I rent a lot of cars, and often judge them based on how long it takes me to get connected and get moving out of the airport. I was shocked by how good the Chrysler Uconnect is. I had it in a Town and Country, and actually enjoyed using it. I liked the whole experience so much, a T&C or Grand Caravan is on my short list of next vehicle to buy.

      Ford’s MyTouch, on the other hand, sucks. I spent over ten minutes in a Focus, in the DFW Airport, trying wihout success to connect my iPod, before giving up and switching to a different car. This wasnt the first time this has happened, I had similarly crappy experiences with other Ford (Fusion, Mustang, etc). I like Ford, but will not suffer MyTouch. That being said, my experience with it in the new Escape, was pretty good.

      Chevy’s new system, which I had in a 2013 Camaro, was really nice to use.

    • 0 avatar

      Not sure what’s the logic behind offering an inferior, possibly buggy (it’s Microsoft’s) system when you already had one of the best infotainment system in the business. As a Vulcan would’ve said, it’s illogical.

    • 0 avatar

      UConnect is one of the best systems I have used! Not sure why they would allow Microsoft to ruin it.

  • avatar

    Michigan public radio is the best. We moved from Lansing 8 years ago and (with the exception of Philadelphia) no place I’ve lived has had as good an NPR offering as WUOM.

  • avatar

    I find it interesting that Microsoft is having so much more success here than with Windows RT and Windows Phone. In the meantime, not a peep from Apple or Google about trying to compete with Microsoft on the car dashboard. Then again, they sell true operating systems, not embedded application platforms like Windows Embedded. Though Android has also been used as an embedded application platform…

    • 0 avatar

      iOS and Android are much less capable operating systems than, the QNX that underpins the high-end Uconnect. QNX does realtime, iOS and Android barely do multitasking. I don’t know what underpins the Microsoft solution.

      The interesting question is who is writing the application layer on the Uconnect systems — QNX (BlackBerry), Microsoft, Chrysler or someone else?

      • 0 avatar

        Not true at all, an OS’s capabilities are directly affected by the applications that run on it as well as the libraries and interfaces it provides, not simply real-time vs multitasking capability at the kernel layer. QNX in itself is a very limited operating system without the addition of Blackberry’s UI and development libraries. Android’s Linux kernel would be just as (in)capable without the addition of standard Linux/GNU libraries, or the Android UI and library additions. Same deal with the BSD/Mach kernel underlying Apple’s iOS.

        The advantages of iOS and Android over their kernels involves their UIs, and specifically their voice recognition, processing, and output capabilities, which would be extremely useful in a vehicle when done right. Android also has a very nice navigation system.

        Windows Embedded uses a modified variant of the Windows kernel, configured to run on an Atom CPU. That’s basically what MyFordTouch, UVO, and the new UConnect are. One of it’s advantages is that it includes Microsoft’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technologies, which are similar in capability to iOS (Siri) and Android (GoogleNow) and something which QNX does not include (it must be provided on the application layer by the application provider). Bing Maps also provides a navigation option comparable to Google Maps/Navigation in Android, though there are also plenty of third party options…and I’d generally prefer to use Google off of my smartphone anyway.

        • 0 avatar

          “One of it’s advantages is that it includes Microsoft’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technologies…”

          FWIW, Ford SYNC doesn’t use the Microsoft speech modules. SYNC includes a solution developed for Ford by Nuance.

          • 0 avatar

            Just because Ford chooses not to use it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it. Nuance is generally pretty good stuff…which makes it interesting that Sync and MyFordTouch have so many issues. But that happens.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The most Apple seems to be concerned with is in-car connectivity with its iPhone, such as the Volkswagen/Apple iBeetle partnership (stupid idea) and the Chevrolet Spark and Sonic being able to interface with Siri (very good idea). Google might have something up its sleeve, though.

  • avatar

    UConnect is a great system, better than Ford’s current system. I gotta admit, I was pretty blown away when I was in my co-worker’s Chrysler 300 with UConnect.

    Ford’s pre-MFT system is great. Never crashed, always worked. MFT sucks, which is why I have a ’10 Taurus and ’12 F-150 and both use the pre-MFT interface. No issues.

  • avatar

    I’m trying to picture the strategy meeting:

    Boss: “OK guys, we have one of the better infotainment systems on the market – a real competitive advantage. It works well; it’s not too buggy; the customers like the layout. So, how can we take that hard-earned success and just completely destroy it?”

    Sycophant: “Well we could switch it over to a Microsoft-based system like MyFord Touch. It’s buggy, crashy, and everybody hates it. That should destroy our competitive advantage pretty quickly! And if there’s one thing this industry needs, it’s certainly more fragmentation of infotainment platforms, especially within a single company!”

    Boss: “Brilliant! You’re promoted!”

    Makes me wonder if Ford has a mole inside Chrysler suggesting ideas like these to bring Chrysler down from the inside.

    • 0 avatar

      Microsoft developed Sync, which works well. They did not develop MFT. That software was farmed out to someone else by Ford, although apparently Microsoft will forever be blamed for it on car blogs.

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