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Ford aids development of SYNC-friendly apps

Templates help development of Smartphone apps for SYNC integration

Published: September 20, 2015, 12:00 PM
Updated: September 21, 2015, 12:22 PM

Ford cockpit with SYNC 3 display screen

Ford is encouraging developers to work with the technology in the all-new SYNC 3 in order to create new apps to enhance vehicle occupants’ in car experiences.

“Ford challenges developers to find new and exciting ways to improve the in-vehicle user experience,” said Doug VanDagens, Ford’s global director of Connected Services Solutions. “For the first time, Ford is giving developers the resources to help make vehicle-specific apps with new capabilities and tools to design experiences based on real-time vehicle information.”

SYNC’s AppLink enables voice control over Smartphone apps from behind the wheel, and it transforms the SYNC display screen to look like the user’s mobile phone screen. Ford is making more than a dozen design templates available to developers to encourage them to tailor their new apps to integrate with SYNC.

Among the available features, the new programming allows developers to send push notifications through the vehicle’s audio system, offers the ability to use voice activation for apps, and grants access to vehicle information through various vehicle sensors to help customize or personalize app experiences,

The new openness was on display at the Ford Developer Conference, where developers had access to an all-new vehicle data simulator program that mimics the cabin experience, drawing data such as vehicle speed, battery voltage and engine rpm (among several others) to convey performance in various drive cycles.

Since Ford rolled out the developer program two years ago, more than 13,000 developers have registered, more than 24,000 software development kits have been downloaded, and more than 90 AppLink compatible apps are now running on iOS and Android devices around the world. Among the “linked” apps are Pandora, Spotify and Glympse.

Ford is hoping to use its developer program to grow the mobile app environment, with emphasis on developing health and wellness, productivity and home connectivity apps.