- Ford will first offer SYNC AppLink, a downloadable software program, on the
2011 Fiesta, allowing owners to access and control Android and BlackBerry
smartphone apps with voice commands and vehicle controls
- Pandora internet radio, Stitcher "smart radio" and Orangatame’s OpenBeak are
the first SYNC-enabled mobile applications
- Ford to create SYNC developer community with launch of new "Mobile
Application Developer Network", giving developers a pathway to
partner with Ford on SYNC-enabled applications
- Ford’s platform approach with SYNC is poised to harness smartphone app
development and mobile web access; apps expected to be a $4
billion industry by 2012; analysts predict the mobile device to become
the No. 1 source for Internet access by 2015
Customers have spoken — asking for safe, convenient access to their
smartphone apps while in the vehicle – and Ford is responding by announcing the
new SYNC AppLink software that will allow hands-free voice control of popular
SYNC AppLink, a downloadable software upgrade, will be released for 2011 Ford
Fiesta owners with the award-winning SYNC communications and infotainment system
later this year, allowing drivers hands-free control of apps on their Android or
BlackBerry smartphones via voice commands and vehicle controls. Ford will
introduce AppLink on most SYNC-equipped vehicles next year, as well as provide
interoperability with other smartphones.
"The growth in smartphone mobile apps has been explosive, and Ford has worked
hard to respond at the speed of the consumer electronics market," said Doug VanDagens, director of Ford’s Connected Services
Organization. "SYNC is the only connectivity system available that can extend
that functionality into the car. AppLink will allow drivers to control some of
the most popular apps through SYNC’s voice commands and steering wheel buttons,
helping drivers keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road."
The Android Market and BlackBerry App World are among the
leading growth markets for mobile apps. The new SYNC AppLink will seamlessly
integrate apps using the vehicle’s voice and user interface controls, including
buttons on the steering wheel, increasing eyes-on-the-road and
The first SYNC-enabled apps available later this year include Pandora
internet radio, Stitcher "smart radio" and Orangatame’s OpenBeak app for
Twitter, with additional apps on the way. Updated versions of each app,
incorporating the SYNC application programming interface (API), will be
available through Android Market and BlackBerry App World for customers to
Built-in, Beamed-in and Brought-in: The SYNC App Ecosystem
From its introduction, Ford has been building an ecosystem of available SYNC
apps, continuously improving the consumer experience.
- Built-in apps, including Vehicle Health Report and 911
Assist, are downloaded and installed directly on the in-car SYNC
- SYNC apps like Traffic, Directions & Information rely on
beamed-in, or "cloud-based," information. Drivers access the Ford Service
Delivery Network, a network of data centers providing turn-by-turn directions,
business searches, and on-demand news, sports and weather information, through a
simple voice-connection using their cell phone.
- SYNC AppLink represents the third category of the ecosystem,
brought-in apps, leveraging apps installed on a user’s smartphone, such
as Pandora, Stitcher and OpenBeak
Studies show mobile app development – a niche market just three years ago –
is expected to blossom into a $4 billion industry by
2012. Sites serving specific mobile operating systems, such as Android and
BlackBerry OS, have experienced massive growth, with analysts predicting the
mobile device will become the No. 1 source for Internet access by 2015,
surpassing the home computer.
Ford and SYNC will answer the consumer demand by offering the only platform
available for drivers to safely control their mobile devices and applications in
the car. Leveraging SYNC’s safer voice commands and steering wheel controls,
drivers are able to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
"Brought-in" apps residing on a consumer’s smartphone also eliminate the need
for yet another piece of hardware to be installed in the car which only serves
to add cost and complexity.
Customers will be able to download SYNC-enabled mobile apps through the same
app store interfaces currently used. As SYNC-enabled versions of existing apps
are released into the app stores, users will be prompted to download the latest
version upon connection. Also, as developers grasp the notion that the vehicle
interior has opened to them, a new dimension of apps designed from the outset to
maximize the unique in-car environment will follow.
Opening the door to developers
To facilitate future SYNC-enabled app development, Ford has also activated a
new developer network on its SYNCmyride Web site. Interested developers can find
a link to submit innovative ideas, and sign up for the latest information and
news about the SYNC application programming interface (API) and software
development kit (SDK). The package will allow developers to modify existing
applications and create all-new apps that can successfully interface with
Working with trusted partners, Ford is completing beta-testing on the SDK.
Once beta-testing is complete, a broader release of the development tools is
planned for later this year. Initial reports have been positive, with one of
Ford’s development partners creating a SYNC-enabled version of its app just
three days after receiving the development tools.
"We’re very pleased by the rapid development time and positive feedback we’ve
seen from our first partners," said VanDagens. "We want to encourage all
developers to visit our site and submit ideas, helping us tap into the global
pool of innovation and creativity."