Ford, Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru), Mazda, PSA Group, Suzuki, and Toyota have recently announced a new partnership entitled SmartDeviceLink Consortium.
Aimed at managing the open-source software for connecting smartphones to infotainment systems, the SmartDeviceLink Consortium is the traditional automakers’ way of combating the growing influence of Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto when discussing systems that can link the owner’s smartphone to the in-car technology. The SmartDeviceLink Consortium has decided to use Ford’s AppLink software as the basis for a new open-source standard of app development – and since the code already exists there are versions of popular apps like Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and AccuWeather already available.
This effectively means there are now three standards for connecting and mirroring someone’s smartphone on the in car infotainment system and display – CarPlay, Android Auto and AppLink. Software developers “can focus on creating the best experience for customers by integrating one linking solution for use by all participating automakers,” reads a statement from the company and unlike CarPlay and Android Auto, both automakers and the third-party app developers can modify and improve the open source code. Ford may be the first to use the new SmartDeviceLink and Toyota indicated they would have the system ready for its vehicles next year.