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Ford Upgrades AppLink To Offer New Services

Berlin – Ford upgraded its Sync AppLink infotainment technology to a 2.0 version that will enable smartphone-app developers to offer multiple new services to a driver’s smartphone-connected Ford Sync infotainment system, the company announced here at the IFA show.

Ford Sync infotainment systems let drivers use voice commands, steering-wheel controls or radio controls to control AppLink-enabled smartphone apps, phone-stored music and other vehicle systems, including the factory radio and satellite-radio tuners. Sync also delivers voice-activated calling via Bluetooth-connected cellphones.

With AppLink 2.0, developers will be able to offer in-vehicle “push” notifications to drivers through a vehicle’s audio system and display. With a person’s permission, app developers will also be able to access vehicle data from a vehicle’s sensors. And app developers will be able to take advantage of Cloud-based voice-activated services for in-app use, Ford said.

Ford launched the automotive industry’s first open mobile app developer program for AppLink at the 2013 International CES. At the IFA show, it announced new AppLink app partners, including TomTom navigation, Audioteka audiobooks, and others.

Ford has also provided AppLink on an open-source basis to the GENIVI Alliance, a consortium founded to drive the broad adoption of an in-vehicle infotainment open-source development platform. Ford handed over AppLink for use as the foundation for the alliance’s planned SmartDeviceLink technology. Ford said it wants SmartDeviceLink to become an industrywide, global standard for enabling smartphone-app integration in the car.