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Fiat re-ups with Microsoft, Chrysler dragged along

by David Zatz on

UConnect

Years ago, Chrysler standardized on the QNX operating system for its award-winning UConnect system; meanwhile, Fiat, like Ford, chose Microsoft Windows Embedded for its own telematics systems. Both Ford and Fiat have come under heavy criticism for their user interface, but both have dug down and kept their commitment to the operating system.

According to betanews.com, Fiat will be re-upping with Microsoft, creating a new version of “Blue & Me” (apparently a reference to Windows’ famed Blue Screens of Death.) The system will be used on 15 models “under the Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Dodge, and Chrysler brands,” and on commercial vehicles; this would be the first time a Chrysler or Dodge vehicle has used the system.

While such systems are normally thought of as software only, in this case it seems to be a hardware/software package, the attraction being the smaller processor and requirement for less storage space. There will be new applications, including voice recognition, and easier system updates.

According to forum member RVC, this will not affect the large-screen telematics systems in Chrysler vehicles; he wrote that UConnect has two families, the large ones remaining based on the designed-for-reliability QNX system, the small ones evolving from Blue&Me.

Update.

It is possible that Dodge and Chrysler do not actually use the Microsoft system, but that Microsoft reported their use of it by error — it was used in the Fiat 500, which is made by Chrysler in North America, which could lead to confusion. We are currently checking on this story.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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