Today Ford is releasing SYNC AppLink, a downloadable software upgrade for Ford SYNC systems that will allow hands-free voice control of popular applications for the BlackBerry and Android smartphones. The first car to get SYNC AppLink support will be the 2011 Fiesta, available later this summer.
Back in January, Ford announced the next evolution of the Ford SYNC system, MyFord Touch. When MyFord Touch was announced, Ford also said it would support third-party mobile applications for a seamless connected experience. This is exactly what the SYNC AppLink does.
Pandora, Stitcher and OpenBeak are the first SYNC-enabled mobile apps that will be available. Using AppLink, BlackBerry and Android users can access and control their applications using their voice and in-dash car controls, rather than having to connect a phone to an line-in jack and fumbling with the phone while keeping an eye on the road.
Furthermore, Ford is launching a new Mobile Application Developer Network so that Android and BlackBerry developers can build in SYNC support for their applications. The possibilities for this sort of integration are tremendous. Just imagine the potential of leveraging a geolocation app with an in-dash navigation system!
While there are adapters that you can purchase to better integrate the Pandora and smartphone experience for third-party head units, this is one of the most seamless examples of app-to-phone integration that we’ve seen on the factory level.
This technology will debut with the Ford Fiesta 2011 this summer in the U.S. AppLink will roll out to other models in the SYNC ecosystem next year. By fusing the connected car and the mobile phone, Ford is bringing a whole new level of synergy to the SYNC system.