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Ford to introduce next version of AppLink next year for improved smartphone integration

Several weeks after Ford introduced its next-generation SYNC 3 in-vehicle connectivity system (earlier post), the company announced it will roll out Ford SYNC AppLink 3.0 next year, giving customers the ability to access their favorite compatible navigation app—much as they do on a smartphone—on in-vehicle touch screens. (Upon launch later this year, SYNC 3 will include Ford’s current version of AppLink.) This coming version leverages open-source SmartDeviceLink functionality to give developers a method to project graphics such as maps onto vehicle touch screens.

As part of the SmartDeviceLink project, Ford is working with Alibaba, a global consumer Internet service, to extend the group’s map, navigation and music services to vehicles. This has led to the integration of SmartDeviceLink into AutoNavi, Alibaba’s app for navigation services, demonstrating how it can be projected onto a vehicle touch screen for seamless use.

The collaboration with Alibaba is also putting more emphasis on development of SmartDeviceLink. Sharing Ford’s vision of a truly open-source smartphone-linking technology, Alibaba will not only integrate SmartDeviceLink into apps, but also become an active contributor driving evolution of the project.

This next version of AppLink is part of Ford’s implementation of the open-source SmartDeviceLink technology that makes it easier for developers to create smartphone apps that are compatible with communications and entertainment systems from all automakers and suppliers.

The mission of SmartDeviceLink is to standardize and simplify the development process, and expand availability of in-car apps for consumers with well-known and well-established open-source methodology. Ford, an active contributor to SmartDeviceLink, continues to make enhancements accessible through Genivi with the intention of expanding partnerships with mobile app developers. This will increase the markets where SmartDeviceLink technology is available and provide developers an easier path to getting their apps into more vehicles.

Ford already has rolled out its AppLink technology globally, including North America, South America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Three new markets are slated to come on board this year: Taiwan, New Zealand and Thailand.


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