Ford Develops Open Developer Program to Integrate Mobile Apps with their Vehicles
Back in the beginning of January it was unveiled that Google was developing a partnership with Kia Motors to “integrate Google Maps and Places into Kia’s new UVO eServices telematics system.” Speaking from personal experience I love Google Maps, and Google Navigation. I use it for everything and never have issues. This may not be the case for everyone since each person is different.
Since Google has joined this partnership, it would appear that Ford is following suite, but in a different aspect. How? When it comes to having apps available for those vehicles with the appropriate hardware and software, and having them available to the community of users other than to “small private betas.”
Ford will be the first manufacturer to open this type of program to developers, at which many may know from the conference they held at CES yesterday. Ford announced that they would be opening a “mobile app developer program” for iOS and Android platforms.
This program from Ford will allow developers iOS and Android alike to use “Ford’s new SDK to tap into a car’s entertainment system to enable two-way communication between app and car.” Sounds like a new cool piece of technology. What it will enable developers to do is use Ford’s SYNC system to:
- Send voice commands to the app
- Give feedback per the text-to-speech engine within the car
- Use the button control and menu system of the car
- Provide API access to the display
Sounds like a pretty good ‘entrance’ for developers to work with Ford’s software/hardware. AppLink API as it is referred to was originally only available to a small number of companies, but will now “launch globally this year” not to mention it is available “in more than 1 million vehicles.”
As good as this sounds, a developer isn’t just given this access freely unfortunately. Just giving this kind of access to developers can lead to liability issues. So the app developed will need to be approved by Ford engineers. Just when it was getting good right? I can’t blame them for this added measure of security to maintain that the app is “suitable” and works the way it should. If the app gets the approval from the Ford engineers, developers will receive a “distribution license” so they can submit the app to the appropriate app stores.
Ford will be providing plenty of resources for developers like online forums where they can have open discussions on developers.ford.com. Currently, it’s still in “private beta” but the resources are still being updated consistently. Development and technical support will also be provided through jacAPPS, a company based in Michigan.
Julius Marchwicki, Ford’s program manager for SYNC AppLink said:
“Since launching AppLink, we’ve worked with developers ranging from a two-man startup at Roximity to large organizations like National Public Radio and Major League Baseball.”
Ford has already been working with some developer teams to get certain apps up and running. Apps like:
- Wall Street Journal
- USA Today
- Aha Radio
- Greater Media
This list of apps are already in the development phase soon to be launched with AppLink.
What do the readers think about Ford opening up such a program for developers? Let us know how you feel in the comments below.
Source: Tech Crunch