Ford Reaches Out to DevelopersJanuary 7, 2013 By Jack Cotter
Ford focused on growing its SYNC app universe with a CES press conference dedicated to app developers.
"It is a strategic shift," said Ford Chief Technical Officer Paul Mascarenas. "It's one thing to be customer-focused but Ford also wants to be developer-focused."
Ford's focal point is the launch of the Ford Developer Program, at developer.ford.com. The website is full of information that will help app developers work with Ford's AppLink. Submitted apps may be approved and Ford will give developers a technology development kit "SYNC in a box" for testing.
Ford will continue to release new APIs for developer partners, and Ford is offering AppLink vehicle software license-free and royalty-free.
"The Ford Developer Program benefits customers, developers and the company," said Hau Thai-Tang, vice president, engineering, global product development.
The highlight for consumers is Ford's partnership with Amazon for the first cloud-based music locker for the car. With the Amazon Cloud Player drivers can play their entire music libraries in the car with a few voice commands. "All you have to do is ask your Ford car to play it for you... no more downloading or syncing," said Steve Boom, Amazon vice president of digital music.
Ford featured several apps including Wall Street Journal Live, USA Today, aha radio, Rhapsody, and AppLink winners, Roximity and BeCouply. Ford introduced Kaliki, a mobile newsstand with free, human-read content, and Glympse, a new location-sharing app.
Ford has also partnered with Greater Media, Inc. to bring voice-activated access to local radio stations. Even in a global expansion, SYNC remains a tool to deliver local news as seen in a partnership with China's SINA to bring the Weibo app to Ford SYNC.