Apps are the Future
A recent survey by Nielsen showed that more than half of mobile phone owners in the United States use a smartphone, and the population of smartphone users is expected to double by 2015. Also, two-thirds of new handsets are enabled to run applications and American users have an average of 67 apps on their devices. This means that there are a lot of people that use apps on their phone, and Ford’s AppLink system allows you to use some of those phone apps while driving by utilizing voice commands. But you can expect a lot more phone apps to be available on the system thanks to Ford’s two big announcements at this year’s CES event.
The first announcement Ford made was their launch of the automotive industry’s first open mobile app developer program enabling software developers to integrate their apps with SYNC® AppLink. Developers can visit http://developer.ford.com to learn about the program and register online. Ford will provide them with a SDK (software developer kit) with APIs (application programming interfaces) that will allow virtually anyone to write smartphone apps that connect to Ford AppLink-enabled cars. In exchange, Ford hopes developers will create high quality content that is relevant and meaningful in the vehicle environment as well as safe to use while driving. Ford will regulate the kinds of apps they allow by working with the Connected Car Consortium (CCC) and going through a quality assurance process both on the content and the quality of the app.
Ford’s second announcement is that they are open sourcing the entire AppLink system, meaning other automobile companies can use it, in the hopes that it will be adopted as an industry standard. Ford wants to make it as easy as possible for software developers to work with them and others in the industry so that the focus can be on content instead of the interface and how content is provided to the customer. Ford CTO Paul Mascarenas revealed in an interview at CES that OEMs have already expressed interest in using the system. Check out this Ford press release to learn more about the Ford Developer Program.
Let us know in the comments section below what kinds of apps you would like to see become available for use in Ford vehicles equipped with the AppLink system.