SYNC AppLink, a downloadable software upgrade, will be released for 2011 Ford Fiesta owners with the 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 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 download.
Built-in, Beamed-in and Brought-in: The SYNC App Ecosystem
— Built-in apps, including Vehicle Health Report and 911 Assist(TM), are
downloaded and installed directly on the in-car SYNC operating system
— 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
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.