Car Maker Ford to Work With App Developers; To Bring AppLink to Indian Cars in 2014

Car maker Ford will bring SYNC AppLink, an in-car voice enabled technology to Indian cars by early 2014, a company executive told NextBigWhat.

With Ford SYNC AppLink, customers can control apps on their smartphones using voice commands.

David Huang, Senior Manager, Technology & Business Development, Connected Services, Ford Asia Pacific said

We announced our open developer program at Computex earlier this year. We will launch AppLink in India for Ford in the first half of 2014.

Nearly 1 million Ford vehicles in the US already have AppLink, which enables users to interact with cell phone apps with voice commands.Ford AppLink

The US car maker wants to popularize AppLink across the mobile developer community and other device makers. “The core technology is open source. So anyone, even if its another automaker, if they want, can take the technology and
use it. They may not call it AppLink but essentially its the same,” Huang said.

The platform will be launched in India with apps such as ESPNcricinfo, MapmyIndia, burrp!, Glympse, TuneIn Radio and others. Ford will also invite developers to create voice activated mobile apps for the companies vehicles. An application programming interface will be made available.

Ford’s in-car connectivity system runs on over 7 million vehicles and is forecast to reach an additional 9 million new customers around the world by 2015.

Cars as Computing Platforms

More and more applications centered around cars have started coming up recently. Ford started with the cars as a computing platform philosophy in 2007. Nissan, General Motors and other car makers are also trying to embed more and more smartphone linked technologies into the car. In December last year, homegrown automaker Mahindra launched BLUE SENSE , an Android app capable of giving the user real time information on tyre pressure and other vehicle alerts.

Meanwhile, a few startups are taking a different approach to this as well. Take for instance Zendrive, the company we wrote about last month. The startup, founded by Ex Googlers, doesn’t want to tie down its application to a particular car. The idea is to have an app that works across cars to solve the drivers problems.

In 2012, I’d written about how auto giants like GM and Ford have opened doors to third party developers to create apps. The way things are going, there could be complete operating systems like Android or iOS running on Cars.

In an earlier interview, Venkatesh Prasad, the man driving Ford’s in car connectivity initiatives (read my earlier interview here) talked about how critical it has become to make cars smarter.

Chip maker Intel has set aside $100 mn for its connected car fund to invest in companies that make in vehicle connectivity solutions.

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